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Bearcats Swing Strong: Women's tennis opens season with series of victories

By: Jacob Rzempoluch, Sports Editor

The tennis courts at Saint Vincent overlook the campus with a sweeping view of the mountains beyond Latrobe while simultaneously remaining tucked away from the traffic of campus. This unique location, between the Saint Vincent Cemetery, Gerald Hall, and the Sis & Herman Dupre Science Pavilion, has been the training grounds for an impressive start to the season for the women’s tennis team. Through three games, the Bearcats have recorded decisive victories against the Penn State-Altoona Lions, Carlow Celtics, and Mount Aloysius Mounties.

Last season, SVC finished the season with a 10-9 record, good for sixth in the conference. With eight players returning from last season, the Bearcats hope to improve on their previous results.

(SOURCE: JULIE WATKINS) Head Coach Brian Niemiec has been coaching at Saint Vincent since 2017.

“We’re looking forward to a successful year, hoping to beat teams like Grove City and [Washington & Jefferson] - some of our close opponents in the PAC,” sophomore liberal arts major Carolina Walters said.

Walters was an outstanding addition to the Bearcats during her freshman year. Her singles record of 15-3 and doubles record of 14-4 led the squad and earned her Newcomer of the Year honors, on top of being named Rookie of the Week twice and first team singles and doubles.

When asked about how she would continue her success on the court, Walters said she needed to stay focused and continue playing consistently.

“There are definitely some tougher opponents in the PAC, and in those matches I’ll need to work harder to stay calm and keep fighting for every ball.”

SVC faces a tough slate of PAC teams this season, but the Bearcats bring a lot of talent. Four Bearcats were named to the preseason Players to Watch list; junior biology major Lydia Lieb, junior accounting major Abby Donnelly, and sophomore nursing major Emily Pierce. They join Walters to lead the preseason fifth place squad. Lieb especially has stood out this season, earning PAC Player of the week for her five wins during the Bearcats’ undefeated streak.

“There’s always a challenge at the beginning of the season of learning where everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are and how we can best succeed as a team,” Walters explained. So far, the Bearcats have certainly been up to the challenge.


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