The fresh faces of the Florida Southern College Women’s Tennis Team are preparing for the upcoming spring season.
Out of the eight women on the tennis team, five are freshman. Two of the players just started for the team this semester, so they do not have any experience playing at the college level.
According to Coach Trish Riddell, the spring season is focused more on the team as a whole rather than each individual player like in the fall season.
Freshman player Kate Taylor-Doran said in order to prepare for the season, the team practices for at least two hours a day with the exception of Sundays off. Along with team practices, the women are expected to workout separate from the team for at least a half hour everyday as well.
Although the team lost six seniors last year, the current players are just as competitive according to Riddell.
“My two seniors have definitely proven themselves as tough competitors,” Riddell said. “My six new ones, I think they are all very competitive. They wouldn’t be here if they weren’t.”
When looking ahead to the season, Riddell said the team would exceed her expectations if they finish 10th in the country like last year’s team simply due to the fact that this year they are so inexperienced.
“I’m hoping that even though we are a bunch of freshman, we’ll do alright.” Taylor-Doran said.
On the contrary, senior Magda Riutort said that she thinks the team is able to finish in the top six or seven teams even though they are lacking experience.
The women will be playing against conference teams eight times during the spring season. Half of those matches will be at home, so be sure to go out and support the Moccasins.
“Everyone else in our league has gotten a little tougher,” Riddell said. “I’d say we are in the toughest conference in the country.”
The hardest opponent this season according to Riutort will be Barry University, last year’s Women’s Tennis National Champion. The Moccasins will be playing against Barry at home on March 21.
Although this team is full of freshman this year, in four years’ time, this team could be amazing according to Taylor-Doran. They will grow as a team and only get better from here.
The seniors are helping the team improve already. Riutort is trying to be a mentor for the freshman as much as she can before she finishes her last season at Florida Southern.
She helps the women understand what to eat before matches, and she helps them with playing doubles because most of the players do not have experience with doubles tournaments.
While Riutort hopes to finish out her college career strong by being All-American for both singles and doubles, the younger players hope to improve as the season goes on and as they learn from the upperclassmen while they can.
Photo courtesy of fscmocs.com