Before an extremely competitive weekend against some of the conference’s top teams, Seton Hall women’s tennis was surging. Pirates’ tennis is treading into waters of unfamiliar territory for the program since 2013-14 season: a winning record.
They have already won on four different occasions by the score 7-0 and on three different occasions in which they only gave up one point. Seton Hall is 13-8 overall and currently sit at 5-4 in Big East conference play.
One of the newcomers to the roster this year, freshman Regina Pitt, has been a major contributor to the team’s success. Pitt currently plays in the No. 2 slot and plays doubles with Seton Hall’s No. 1, senior Anicka Fajnorova.
“Coach puts us where he thinks we would fit, best based off of our abilities, where he would think we would be able to win,” said Pitt. “As a freshman at that spot, I am very lucky, he believes in me and I’ve had somewhat of a successful season so far.”
Pitt ended up on the losing end this weekend with tight loss at DePaul and retaliated with a win at Marquette over the weekend.
A week ago, the Pirates stood at 5-1 in the conference and had a true shot at finish atop the Big East Conference. The home loss to Villanova in difficult playing conditions, a team near the bottom, derailed their chances and was the start of their current three-game losing streak.
“The winds were as severe as we’ve played in,” said head coach Kevin McGlynn, reflecting on last Wednesday’s home defeat. “ITA rules say you aren’t supposed to play over 20 miles an hour, so it was around 27 sustained and close to the 30s – it was pretty dramatic. On paper, we’re stronger than they are at just about every position but, when you think about when the wind is blowing and everybody adjusting to not being able to move and challenge your opponent as much, wind becomes a neutralizing factor when you’re playing somebody isn’t necessarily as strong as you. We must focus on incremental improvement mentally, executing in more pressure situations. It’s not beyond anyone’s ability, we have to get into the point on the first serve, not having quick or free points for your opponent and challenge them to stay at their level – make them earn what their getting.”
Pitt, like McGlynn, credited the chemistry of the team as well as the mindset that the girls take into every match for their success, adding that the doubles points are crucial to catalyzing their momentum going forward.
“We all have the ability to keep those big points in big matches,” said Pitt. “Double point is key; we have been doing pretty well at winning the doubles point recently even though we lost our singles overall. It gives you the momentum after whoever wins the two doubles out of three for the point. It gives us the confidence to try very hard and obviously puts us at advantage.”
The Pirates feel as if they can compete against any team in the Big East, since they have not lost by a noticeable margin so far. The difference between winning and losing will come down to their ability to lock in, forget about the last play and execute on the next serve.
Evando Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Thompsev.