The end of spring semester is rapidly closing in, meaning that the pressure is on for the ABAC tennis team as their time to compete at the national tournament approach. The team had two chances to play in April so far, and while the Fillies struggled, the Stallions emerged from both matches with wins, but also some hard learned lessons.
April 6 gave the Stallions another chance to play a home match at ABAC, against University of South Carolina-Sumter (USC Sumter). The doubles portion of the match went by quickly, and after a brief delay due to rain, singles began. The stallions struggled to keep up momentum throughout the match, and despite ending with a 5-4 win, saw their weaknesses come out throughout the day. According to Nick Rosatti, assistant coach for the team, “The match against USC Sumter really opened our eyes and made us realize that nobody is going to hand us a match. We have to play with intensity every match.”
Juan Pino Contoleon was the first of the Stallions to finish his singles match, coming off the courts at his last home match with a win. “I think the game on Saturday was a perfect example of not having a lot of motivation to play, but getting on the court and pushing yourself as much as you can,” said Contoleon. “As a team, you want to win, and the way to encourage teammates is to cheer for them. Extra motivation for me was that this was my last home match as a sophomore and I wanted to do well.”
On April 11, the team traveled to Americus to play Georgia Southwestern State University, where the Stallions came out with another win, this time 6-3. The Fillies struggled, dropping 2-7 in their match. For now, as the last few weeks before nationals go by, the focus is preparation. “We are stressing recovery, ensuring we are in peak condition, and making sure everyone stays hydrated,” said Rosatti. Conditioning is a key part of preparing, as the teams will be playing in Texas (Fillies) and Arizona (Stallions), where the temperatures will be high.
For sophomores on the team, like Contoleon, these next few weeks mean preparing to move on from ABAC’s two-year sport’s programs. While not all the players know where they are going to go, it won’t be long now until they have plans for the fall. It’s bittersweet, but exciting time.
“After ABAC it’s going to be totally different. New team, new college, new friends and a new city. It’s hard to say goodbye to this beautiful place, but I’m ready for what’s coming next and excited about it,” said Contoleon.