BY Caroline Bolletino
Sacred Heart University’s men’s and women’s tennis teams are both a month into their respective fall seasons. The fall schedule consists of mostly invitational tournaments, whereas the spring season, which starts on Jan. 15, consists of dual matches.
Both teams attended the U.S. Open in New York City over Labor Day weekend to start off their fall slates. The men’s team then had their first matchups at the University of Connecticut (UConn) Invitational, which went from Sept. 14-16. The women’s team began play at the Quinnipiac Invitational on Sept. 16.
“Coach (William) Boe-Wiegaard has made his point clear of our goals and we are working hard and keeping our minds focused,” said sophomore Lucca Casalduc of the men’s team.
The teams practice for two hours every weekday. They also have an hour of strength and conditioning to do when they’re not on the courts.
This year, both teams have lost their courts on campus due to construction for the new Bobby Valentine Athletic Center.
“Not having courts on campus has been difficult, but we make it work,” said junior Nicole Vassalle of the women’s team.
A 15 to 20 minute ride to practice every day has turned into bonding time for both teams.
“The extra time in the car only makes us closer as a team and it makes the team even more dynamic,” said sophomore Lauren Santarsiero of the women’s team.
Both teams will be able to practice on upgraded tennis courts once the new facility has been completed.
“Better courts will be built right next to the Athletic Center, and I am told we will have six courts with lights, hitting walls and seating for fans,” said Boe-Wiegaard. “I think any home night matches could get pretty electric.”
The teams have adjusted to the changing of courts and are setting goals for themselves and for the team.
“Our main goal always is to win the Northeast Conference Championships (NEC’s),” said Santarsiero. “To do so, we take one match at a time and build on things and work on certain skills every time we step onto the court.”
Boe-Wiegaard is looking for both teams to be driven and organized throughout the course of the season.
“Daily growth is the most important thing,” said Boe-Wiegaard. “Removing inefficiency and increasing productivity is the key to maximizing their success on and off the court.”
Boe-Wiegaard has seen improvement in both team’s work ethic over the past year in practices and matches.
Casalduc and freshman William Wibmer won the A Flight Doubles title at the Hofstra Pride Invite on Sept. 22. Additionally, Wibmer reached the semifinals of the A Flight Singles Tournament, beating the top seed in the quarterfinals.
The women’s team lost their matchup against Fairfield University 5-2, on Sept. 19. They had scheduled matchups against Quinnipiac on Sept. 25 and Monmouth on Sept. 26, but both games were postponed due to inclement weather.
“Failure is never the end, it’s only the beginning,” said Vassalle.
Both teams have maintained positive attitudes as the season progresses.
“I believe this year we can do great things, we already started the right way,” said Casalduc.