Beaver Falls, PA - Geneva women′s tennis coach Mandee Craft is set to begin her 12th year at the helm. After posting a 5-4 record in the first year of PAC eligibility, Craft and the Golden Tornadoes are set to take the next step toward the top of the conference standings. Geneva opens the 2012 season this week at Malone on Thursday and begins conference play with a home match against Chatham on Saturday morning.
The Geneva College women′s tennis team won two of its final three conference matches in 2011. The Golden Tornadoes finished the season with a 5-4 mark in PAC action and will look to improve upon that record in 2012. Geneva head coach Mandee Craft has an interesting dilemma on her hands when it comes to the 2012 roster. Despite losing three of her top players to graduation last year and with just one senior for the new campaign, Craft and the Golden Tornadoes should still be considered a veteran group. Geneva has six players returning for at least their third season of varsity tennis. Only Sarah Cypher will be entering her senior year so the present and the future appears to be bright for the Golden Tornadoes. "We will have a solid core of players returning to the mix this year," says 12th year head coach Mandee Craft. "There will be several opportunities for some of those returning players to step into more significant roles throughout the season. I am excited about the many possibilities for this team but we will need everyone to contribute."
Geneva′s 2011 season was highlighted by the run made by Julie Kline through the PAC tournament. Kline advanced to the #4 singles flight championship before settling for conference runner- up. One of Craft′s goals for the Golden Tornadoes this year is to have a better representation at the PAC tournament. "We want to qualify our student-athletes at most, if not all, of the singles and doubles positions," says Craft. "We got some great experience in the post-season last year and we want to continue giving our athletes those types of opportunities."
Kline finished the 2011 season with an 8-5 record in singles play to lead the group of returning players. Geneva′s returners compiled 19 singles victories a year ago. A bigger task may be putting together three doubles tandems that will compete quickly within the PAC. "We have to quickly and accurately assess who deserves those coveted spots in the line-up," Craft explains. "We will need to form new doubles teams who can quickly work well together, finding personalities and playing styles who mesh into good partnerships."
The only returning doubles tandem that returns to the roster will be the team of Brittany Kress and Courtney Light. That duo picked up four victories together in 2012. Outside of that grouping, there is no other team that will return for 2012. "Having new faces is exciting but also stressful," says Craft. "We have a solid group of newcomers this fall but we will have to find out quickly who will be able to contribute to the mix."
Geneva′s women′s tennis continues to move forward under the leadership of Mandee Craft, who is the second longest tenured tennis coach in school history. Craft explains that what her team does off the court is equally as important to the way it performs on it. "We always want to compete at a very high level," says Craft. "A successful season for our program will be qualifying as many student-athletes for the PAC tournament as we can while also forming a strong and consistent line-up for each match. We also will always be Christ-like examples to our opponents." It seems that the Golden Tornadoes take a positive step forward each year. After a successful opening season as full members of the Presidents′ Athletic Conference a year ago, Geneva is set to take another big step in the right direction in 2012.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College′s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).