While the women’s tennis regular season takes place in the spring, the team has been playing all fall in preparation.
Last season, the Mountain Hawks finished with a 5-4 record and their season ended in the Patriot League quarterfinals, losing to Bucknell.
This season, the Mountain Hawks want to build on their success from last season and take the next step by winning the Patriot League tournament.
In order to work towards this goal, the team has stressed staying in the moment and taking things day by day.
Coach Sarah Hendrix said their ultimate goal is to win a Patriot League Championship, but that the most important thing to her and the team is the process.
This season’s team returns four upperclassmen, including two juniors and two seniors who have done a great job leading the team, Hendrix said.
“They’ve been really good in how they lead by example,” Hendrix said. “We haven’t named captains yet, but they’ve all kind of stepped up in terms of their leadership. They’re all very unique and different in how they lead, but they’ve definitely taken both of the freshmen under their wings.”
Freshmen Hasma Javagal and Allyce Gaborik might be new to the program, but Hendrix expects them to have a big impact on the team.
This fall, Hendrix has been pleased not just by their play but how they have acclimated to the university and the team.
“We have two excellent freshmen who will definitely play major roles in our lineup,” Hendrix said. “Hasma Javagal and Allyce Gaborik both have had tremendous impacts already in the fall. I think they’re both going to play big roles for us in the spring for both singles and doubles.”
Gaborik said she is excited about being on a team again, as she felt as though she lost that sense of camaraderie playing junior tennis.
As a freshman in high school, Gaborik won conference and sectional singles titles.
Gaborik decided in order to keep improving, she ought to play in club and USTA tournaments during her next three high school seasons.
“I really like (Lehigh) because junior tennis before college was more of an individual sport, as we weren’t really on a team,” Gaborik said. “It’s been really nice to be on a team and know we’re all working towards one common goal. We all really want each other to do well.”
With a strong group of upperclassmen and some new additions, the Mountain Hawks are poised to make the next step and compete for a Patriot League title.
The team feels as though the work they’ve put in will translate to success when it matters the most.
During the fall, the team has been working on establishing a winning culture. A crucial part of this was emphasizing the team’s five core values, which Hendrix said are: a team-first mentality, competitiveness, self-awareness, toughness and integrity.
In addition to creating a culture off the court, the Mountain Hawks have been working on the focus of fall practices, matches and pinpointing small tweaks they can make in matches.
Having the full fall season to prepare for the spring allows the team to get specific and work on important details.
Junior Ella Imhof stressed the importance of the fall matches to prepare her for the regular season in the spring.
“We’re just trying to get used to match play and see where people are in terms of ability,” Imhof said. ”To see where the lineup will be for the spring.”
Along with getting comfortable in matches, it allows the team to see how they should slot their lineup to see which players might have chemistry in doubles.
The Mountain Hawks have now concluded fall competition and will continue preparing for the season starting in February.