For the past three consecutive years, the Geneva College women’s tennis team has finished with a winning record. For 11th year head coach Mandee Craft, the consistency and framework have been set for a program that is primed to begin play as an active member of the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. “We certainly don’t expect to have a shortage of players who deserve playing time,” says Craft. “The true test will be finding the exact balance of singles and doubles skill to make the best line-up out of a tremendously deep roster.”
When you look at the graduating class of 2010, it is hard not focus on the loss of three-year number one Chelsea Cover. Cover handled top singles and doubles in each of the past three seasons. “Chelsea’s loss will definitely be felt,” says Craft. “However, we still maintain strong leadership with two four-year team members leading the way this fall.” Kara Zimmerman and Amy Weller will each be playing their fourth and final season for the Golden Tornadoes. Zimmerman paired with Cover to make up Geneva’s top doubles team in each of the past two years while it would appear she will move up to take the top spot in singles for her senior campaign. Cassie Califf will also provide Geneva with some experience as she enters her third year of collegiate competition.
The roster is also sprinkled with returning players that will all vie for playing time in 2011. Included in that list are junior Sarah Cypher and sophomores Alison Beattie, Christine Bullock, Julie Kline, Alyssa Kuhn and Emilie Wilson. “We are excited about some of these younger players stepping up into a more sizable role for us in 2011,” says Craft.
Heading into the first year of active membership in NCAA Division III and the Presidents’ Athletic Conference puts some loftier goals on the table for the Geneva tennis team. Following what was simply a non-conference regular season; the Golden Tornadoes would pack their racquets up and wait for next year. In 2011, the PAC championships await these student-athletes at the end of the regular season. “Our main goal heading into the pre-season is to determine the balance as soon as possible,” says Craft. “By the time the PAC championships roll around, we will be comfortable in our spots and ready to make a mark in our first conference tournament.”
With three consecutive winning seasons in the rear view mirror, the future would seem bright for this group of Geneva tennis players. Unlike years past when they could only sit and wonder how it would play out of they were eligible. In 2011, there is no more sitting around as the outcome will be played out on the court against the best the Presidents’ Athletic Conference has to offer.
Washington Monthly ranks Geneva among the nation’s top ten “Best-Bang-for-the-Buck” baccalaureate colleges for providing students the highest chance of graduating with an affordable degree that has marketplace value.