Road to Recovery
The Mount Saint Mary College Women's Tennis Team (Photo by Jaimee Lubniewski)

by Carrie Victoria

The Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) women’s tennis team is rebuilding this fall, after losing many of its best players last spring. Two players graduated, and two others did not come back for financial or academic reasons.

After losing four strong players, the team has taken in seven new and less-experienced team members. Some have never played tennis, many have not played tennis since high school.

Sophomore Taylor Dubois said this is her first time playing for the MSMC women’s tennis team, after playing for a year in high school. She enjoys playing for the team, but said that it has been a “rocky start.”

The team traveled to Sage College for their first Skyline Conference match on Saturday. They were defeated 3-6.

Co-captain Jillian Torre, a senior, hopes that the results of the conference do not reflect how the team will perform for the rest of the season.

“I think, skill-wise, we were there, but mentally, we weren’t because we have so many new players,” she said. “Tennis is so mental. You can practice your strokes, but you can’t practice what your mind is going to say during the match.”

Senior Jaimee Lubniewski and fellow co-captain believes that the team is getting stronger with every match—both physically and mentally.

Gina Danon, the team’s new coach and a local elementary school teacher, has contributed to the team’s recovery and improvement. Torre and Lubniewski agreed that Danon is a valuable asset to the team.

Danon played on the MSMC women’s tennis team five years ago and was coached under Lorraine Brady. Torre said that Danon follows in the footsteps of her previous coach and is an example of what a good coach should be like.

The team’s biggest weakness might be lack of experience, but Danon says that the team’s strength is the girls on it.
“They’re hard-working,” Danon said. “That’s half the battle – finding girls who want to do well.”

The coach and the players are taking the season step by step.

“Our goal is to improve with every match,” Danon said. “It’s not necessarily about winning. Of course, we want to win, but we want to improve more than anything.”

The MSMC women’s tennis team nabbed many achievements in the past few years. They were the champions of the Skyline Conference and participated in the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championship for four consecutive years, from 2009-2013.

The goals for this season are not set as high.

“Our goal always was to win the Skyline Conference, but this year, since we’re not as strong as we have been, I would be ecstatic if we made it to playoffs,” Lubniewski said. “But right now, winning any and every match is a goal in itself.”

The MSMC women’s tennis team played against Sarah Lawrence College on Sunday and won 5-4.

“The fat lady hasn’t sung yet!” Torre yelled as she cheered on her teammates, and the same is true for the MSMC women’s tennis team.