Tennis Teams Serving it Up

Sacred Heart University’s men’s and women’s tennis programs are having a successful start to their seasons. In Northeast Conference (NEC) matches, the men are 3-1 while the women are 3-0 after both teams won their recent match against Wagner College on March 18. 

“The men have really impressed me as the season has progressed. Our doubles have been excellent, and we have competed well against some of the top teams in the northeast,” said head coach Mike Guastelle. “I’m looking forward to what we can do in the NEC tournament in mid-April.”

The men’s team has been led by Arya Alla, who was named NEC Rookie of the Month for February.

“As a team, we are doing things correctly to win these conference matches. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going in these important conference matches and come out with more wins,” said Alla.

The women are led by junior Katsiaryna Starastsenka, the NEC Player of the Month for February.  Starastsenka has 12 individual wins so far this season.

“I am happy to receive ‘Player of the Month’ in February, as it is a reward for my hard work and something that gives more confidence moving forward into the season,” said Starastsenka. “But I understand that it is just a step towards receiving the award ‘Player of the Year’ and I need to keep working hard and stay focused to achieve it.”

Even with a statistically excellent start to the season the women know they must keep up the hard work as the season is not over yet and they have goals to reach.

“I am sure that the most important goal for everyone on the team is to win the NEC championship this year,” said Starastsenka. “I think that we have a very good schedule for the rest of the season for us to get ready for the NEC championship as much as possible.”

Both the men and women Pioneers strategy for this season has been to give it all they got by playing hard, practicing often, and staying consistent.

“I go out on the court and just fight as hard as I can to win every point. Some of my matches have seemed to go perfectly and others have been far from perfect,” said Alla. “However, I have found that by going out there and competing and not worrying about too much else, I have been able to perform at a high level for myself and my teammates.”

One of the things that coach Guastelle has been preaching to his groups every day at practice this year is consistency.

“We practice on average four to five times a week with one to two matches a week,”  said Guastelle. “Each team needs to stay consistent in their work ethic and show consistency in their play the last three weeks before our conference tournament April 14-16.”

The Pioneers next NEC match is on Saturday, April 1 when they host FDU at the Tennis Club of Trumbull.

Sacred Heart Athletics contributed to this article.

About the author

Staff Writer

Leave a Reply