While the men were rocking out, the women were battling their way to two exciting finishes.
This past weekend, the Boston University women’s tennis team opened its season by defeating Harvard University, 4-3, and barely losing an equally tight game against Brown University by the same 4-3 score.
Meanwhile, the men’s tennis team lost its spring opener to Davidson College, 7-0, and then fell to Brown, 5-0, in the first ever Rock N’ Roll Contest in Providence, R.I.
The women opened the season against two top teams at Harvard and against Brown on a neutral court in Dorchester.
‘We went in feeling ready,’ BU women’s coach Lesley Sheehan said. ‘They were ready to play ‘-‘- we knew our first matches were going to be very tough.’
The Terriers came back from a 3-2 deficit against Harvard to tie the contest at 3-3. The decisive seventh match was a tie, forcing another winner-take-all match.
‘It all came down to the last game and [freshman Elizabeth Corrao],’ Sheehan said. ‘There was already a lot of pressure, then a tie-breaker on top of that. Liz came out on top which gave us the win, 4-3.’
While Corrao was the one who dealt the decisive blow against Harvard, Sheehan was also particularly impressed with the performance of another freshman, Stefanie Nunic. Nunic played through an illness the entire weekend and still almost knocked off Brown sophomore Bianca Aboubakare. Aboubakare is the second-ranked player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association East Region rankings.
‘Stefanie could hardly breathe and she almost upset a top-ranked player,’ Sheehan said. ‘It was incredible.’
The women came away with a different result against Brown, although the Terriers faced nearly the same circumstances as with Harvard. Like the Harvard match, the score was tied 3-3 before BU lost the last singles point.
Even though the team finished 1-1 over the weekend, Sheehan had positive things to say.
‘We felt absolutely great because of both the mental hard work and the physical hard work,’ Sheehan said. ‘And at the same time we played another match that came down to the same scenario, and we lost, 4-3. It could have gone either way, but it went against us.’
With 15 consecutive America East Championships and 10 straight NCAA bids, Sheehan is used to success. She said she believes the BU team can improve itself to ensure that success continues.
‘I always look to improve the team and I want to see improvement of individuals,’ Sheehan said. ‘If we talk about more performance goals in practice and we improve each day, the wins will come.’
Sheehan said she expects the same domination that she has seen over her past 24 years of coaching at BU.
‘The same team came back from last year, and now two freshmen are playing number one and three, so I have the expectation we’ll be a top team, but other teams also have great recruiting,’ Sheehan said.
‘We’ll still look to knock off a lot of these teams. We have Virginia Commonwealth [University], one of the top teams in the nation, the University of South Florida ‘- a lot of top competitors. We have a goal to beat them, but also win the America East and go onto the NCAA Tournament. So, we have a lot of goals.’
The men’s team failed to rack up wins this weekend, but BU still remained positive. Playing on the Brown campus, the Terriers dropped their first match to Davidson, getting swept in singles and losing 2-of-3 in doubles.
‘It’s been a quick start because we just came back onto this campus and we kind of hit the ground running,’ BU men’s coach Rick Edelmann said. ‘To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect going in, but the players were pumped up to play.’
‘I thought we came out of the gate right at the beginning, and we played really well in doubles. Even on the singles, we had a lot of close first sets. I was pleased that we came to compete instead of just playing for the sake of playing.’
The next day, the Terriers competed against Brown in the NCAA’s first-ever Rock N’ Roll Contest. The contest entailed four singles matches and one doubles match while rock and roll music was pumped in over the loudspeakers.
‘The guys were really excited to do it. They were really pumped up, but it made it more difficult to focus,’ Edelmann said. ‘Since it was a first, we got a lot of attention, too, but we definitely didn’t play our best tennis.’
Despite the losses, Edelmann is still optimistic about the rest of the season. He said he plans on competing for the America East championship with a team that he admires.
‘There’s a lot of character on this team,’ Edelmann said. ‘They’re a pretty tight-knit group and I couldn’t be more pleased with how they handle practice on a daily basis. They work very hard and they leave it all on the court. No coulda, woulda, shoulda with these guys.’