Coming off an 0-15 season last year, the Rhode Island College women’s tennis team can only improve this season. The question now is “how much?” Last year was their first losing season since 1997 and their first winless season in program history. Needless to say the team as a whole is ready to leave that behind and start fresh. And fresh they will be, with only two returning players on the roster of seven.
Head coach Liz Barrette returns for her fourth year at the helm this fall. Barrette was former player just a few short years ago and Anchorwomen tennis has become a central part of her life. Barrette posted two winning seasons as a coach before last year and will be looking to get her team back into the win column early and often. One might look at the team’s short list of returners and lack of success last year and immediately think of the year as a rebuilding season.
“Even though we have a lot of freshman, I don’t see it as a rebuilding year,” said Barrette of the upcoming season. “The ladies have been working really hard through double sessions and they mean business.”
The few returning Anchorwomen will play a huge role in leading the team to success. Senior Gaby Batek and junior Doris Belanger will most likely lock down the roles of two and three singles respectively. Batek struggled at number one singles last year, winning just one match, but gained a lot of experience that Barrette thinks will pave the way for her success at number two singles. Belanger who won five matches at the number two slot, also slide down a spot and hopefully improve on her win total from last year.
The roster is littered with holes to be filled and questions to be answered and with five freshmen battling it out for four spots, things could get interesting. One thing is for sure, newcomer Chelsea Brown will be making a splash near the top of the line up and most likely will play in the number one singles spot. The freshman class as a whole will obviously play a huge role this year and could make or break the Anchorwomen’s season. Barrette remains extremely up beat and positive on the season.
“We are going to come out strong and shock some teams this year I think,” Barrette said.