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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Women’s tennis ‘working well together’ ahead of MAAC slate

Sophomore+Nikole+Lisovyy+backhands+the+ball+during+a+match+against+Stonehill+on+Feb.+10.
Cameron Levasseur
Sophomore Nikole Lisovyy backhands the ball during a match against Stonehill on Feb. 10.

Ask the players, ask the coach — if they had to describe Quinnipiac women’s tennis in one word, it would be “young.” And rightfully so.

Out of the 10 players on this year’s roster, four are freshmen and two are transfers.

“You never know how the freshmen are gonna compete on the court,” head coach Paula Miller said. “But they are all fighters and they’re competing every day. It’s been great even with so many new players.”

And they haven’t been faring half bad, sitting 3-6 in pre-conference matches.

“We have a very new team, but I think everybody adjusted really well,” senior Dominique Yeo said. “If you bring a lot of new people in, they have a lot of energy because they want to win the ring. Everybody’s very motivated and working hard.”

When it comes to Yeo, a Saint Francis University transfer from the Netherlands, Miller had only positive things to say.

“(Yeo’s) a leader on and off the court,” Miller said. “She was a captain at her other school, so she has that leader role which we need. She pushes them a little bit more. She’s one of the strongest girls on our team and she’s been a great addition to our program.”

But then again, there’s not one player Miller can point out in either a positive or negative context.

“I can’t even tell you who my top six are,” Miller said. “I’ve been impressed with all of them. I didn’t think we’d be as strong as we are for such a young team, but they really compete and it’s been great.”

Freshman Caitlin Flower was recently named the MAAC Player of the Week. She had been undefeated on the season, but as of Feb. 26 she sits 5-3 in singles. Flower is a well-rounded player, consistently playing at the No. 4-5 position, which could change soon.

“I knew she was a good player coming in,” Miller said. “We’re looking to possibly move her up because she’s been doing so well. She’s been working hard on things we’ve talked about to get her better mentally and physically.”

Flower, alongside freshman Caroline Schulson — the “freshman duo doubles team” as Miller dubbed them — stands at 8-5 in the season in doubles.

“(Flower and Schulson) have actually been together since almost the beginning,” Miller said. “They are the one team that I’ve kind of stuck with since they’ve been doing really well.”

Though, as Miller said, “you never know.”

For a team to secure one doubles point, it has to win two out of the three one-set doubles matches. So far, Quinnipiac won that point only three times. Coincidentally, every time the Bobcats secured that point, they ended up winning the meet.

But Miller is optimistic and continues to play around with the pairings.

“I think we are a great team in doubles and that’s something that we haven’t had in the past,” Miller said. “I’m big into closing the net and putting balls away, getting as close as you can. It’s just the matter of finding the right combinations in that aspect.”

Schulson has been another great addition –- and not just in doubles. Undefeated in her high school career, she’s proved to be a real “surprise,” playing a higher No. 3-4 position than the No. 5-6 Miller expected her to.

“I know her private coach and he told me she was working really hard this summer,” Miller said. “She improved a lot before coming to this school and she’s been a great surprise for how well she’s been playing.”

Freshmen Ella Lewis and Anagha Shankar are right up there in Miller’s praises as well, Shankar securing the No. 1 position, and earning MAAC Player of the Week early in the season.

Despite the fresh faces that shine in this team, the returners are nothing to snooze on.

Sophomore Vera Sekerina was a clinch player for the Bobcats in 2023, securing the No. 2 position for this season. Graduate Jordan Bradley is 2-2 so far, sitting comfortably at the No. 5-6 position along with sophomore Nikole Lisovyy.

However, there are Bobcats that have yet to see the spotlight.

Graduate student Jenna Sloan is out with a wrist injury. Senior Alexandra Luehrman — a law student — has been tied up with academic responsibilities.

“I’ve never had a 3+3 law student on a team before,” Miller said. “That fourth year of their eligibility is difficult, which we knew but I wanted to try it out.”

Unfortunately, as Miller added, “It’s really kinda not doable so she’s not around too much, but she comes when she can.”

In its nature, tennis is a very individual sport. However, in college play, the importance of the team cannot get lost, and that’s something Miller emphasized to her players early on.

“We tell them at practice to always cheer for each other,” Miller said. “They are learning the team aspect of it, it’s not all just playing individual tournaments where it’s all about you. They took a little bit in the fall to understand that.”But a team is much more than just the players. Often, it’s the coach who makes or breaks it. That’s not a problem for the Bobcats.

“(Miller’s a) very organized coach with clear goals,” Yeo said. “She’s very experienced and she knows what it takes for us to win. We had good practices and really good results against some tougher teams. I definitely think the team is working well together.”

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Alexandra Martinakova, News Editor
Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor

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