The Lady Cavs tennis team has proved itself to be a force to be reckoned with in the 2010 regular season. The team has dropped countless opponents for an overall record of 13-2 and a CSAC conference record of 8-1.
Part of the reason 2010 has been such an impressive year for the team is because 2009 was quite a struggle. The team finished the 2009 regular season with a 5-11 overall record and a 5-5 conference record. Last season, the championship was an unrealistic dream. This season, it is an achievable reality.
“It’s really exciting that we get to go the playoffs this year,” Alexis DiCamillo, junior captain, said. “It’s the goal I’ve been striving for since I was a freshman. We’re on our comeback and we want it really bad.”
Cabrini will face Marywood University in the first round of the playoffs. If the team is to advance to the next round, which is the championship, the opponent will be archrival Gwynedd-Mercy College.
Through strong leadership and young talent, the team has felt confident throughout the 2010 season. Seasons in the past have lacked both of these aspects.
“We are a much stronger team this year,” Gabriela Durand, sophomore, said. “Last year we got by and just tried to make it work. This year we have great leadership in our juniors, Alexis and Michelle, as well as three freshmen on our starting lineup who are really making a difference.”
DiCamillo and Michelle Lettmann are both junior co-captains who are major parts of the 2010 success. In 2009 there were no captains, and the team has felt that the leadership has truly made a difference. They are examples for the rest of the team because they know what coach John Magee expects and they motivate the rest of the team to do their best.
“Our captains are great role models and are very outspoken on and off the court,” Durand said. “They only have one year left at Cabrini, so it’s definitely their crunch time.”
Another big difference between this season and last is that there are strong freshmen recruits in the lineup. DiCamillo, Durand, and Magee all commended freshmen Katie Kennedy, Victoria Nastala and Adriana Scotto as being one of the most crucial aspects of the team’s success.
“The freshmen truly deserve to be commended for their great job this season,” Magee said. “Being on a team is an incredible commitment and as a freshman you’re trying to balance that with adjusting to college and having a social life. They have persevered six days a week on the court and gotten through this hard-learning period incredibly well.”
The balance of the strong leadership of the co-captains and the talent and earnestness of the freshmen is a sure combination for success. However, great players can’t win without strong guidance from a coach.
“Our coach is very in tune with the girls,” Durand said. “He is the type to get on your case until you get it right. Sometimes it feels like he even wants it more than we do.”
Magee has been head coach for Cabrini’s women’s tennis for seven years and has taken the team to the NCAA tournament twice, in 2007 and 2008.
Magee makes small equipment and drills changes every year. He feels that the players appreciate new practicing methods and differences within game play.
As a coach, his expectations change year to year based on the players, but he always wants to win the championship. Besides being a coach for Cabrini, his other profession is teaching. Therefore, his steady philosophy of teaching the team how to do well in life never changes.
“I never allow my players to do a skill incorrectly,” Magee said. “My coaching philosophy every year is the same and that is to teach the players skills for life. I want them to be able to relate the things they learn from tennis and apply it to situations off the court with people, school, jobs or whatever comes their way.”
The Lady Cavs, as well as the coaching staff, are proud of the turnaround from 2009 and because of the strong freshman players, the team looks to the future with optimism.
“Last year our recruits fell through due to problems with injuries and personal issues,” DiCamillo said. “We basically just picked up players and it was a learning experience. This year we have bonded as a team and now is our time.”