The Griffon Women’s Tennis team went 2-0 in the preseason. With those two wins, they’re looking forward to a great opportunity at qualifying this year.
The Griffons were joined by a new full-time head coach, Chris Canady, and have already seen some great improvements all around.
Senior Ceara Bulridge played in all 15 matches last year, finishing with a team high 6-9 overall record in singles play. She is looking to improve that record this upcoming season.
“I really want to win as many single matches as possible. There are so many things that Coach Canady has taught me that if I knew last year, I would have done better,” Bulridge said.
Bulridge has some high hopes for her team and is hoping for a great outcome her senior year.
“I think we will get very far in the MIAA tournament, but qualifying is the first step and I think we will qualify this year,” Bulridge said.
The Griffons have struggled a bit over the past years, but the players really feel like Coach Canady has helped them improve in many ways.
“If you compare last year to this year, I feel like I’ve improved a lot just with Coach Canady,” Bulridge said.
Junior Denise Chiao played in all 15 matches last year for the Griffons, going 2-12 in singles. She has also seen some improvement playing under Coach Canady.
“I feel like I’ve improved a lot so far, during the preseason and even now; knowing that I can do better during matches is exciting,” Chiao said.
Some of the Griffons have played under three different coaches in the past year but they seemed to find a way to adjust to each one of them.
“I don’t think going from coach to coach was really that bad, I think it was really adjustable. I think the biggest thing is just change, but it wasn’t too big of a change,” Chiao said.
Coach Canady gives an outlook on his team and shares some excitement about the little time he’s been here at Western.
“I think with the first two matches of the fall season is certainly nice to start off 2-0. We beat William Jewel. I wasn’t here yet, but I can see from afar that they had gotten better because that was the first time they beat William Jewel in a while,” Canady said. “Against Baker, that was kind of one of those matches where we were better than them, but we did a really good job of coming out and beating them. We didn’t really mess around, so it’s a good start, its been awhile since they’ve had that.”
This team is looking for a complete turnaround, but understands that it’s going to take some improving starting in practice. Canady tells us what he expects this season.
“Our expectations are not to set any goals when it comes to match wins, but we’re trying to improve upon what we do on a daily basis, especially coming into this situation. The fact they haven’t had much success over the last several years, I really didn’t want to focus on winning matches but I want to focus on just improving the team, our environment and really teaching them how to work and take pride in what they’re doing and being a Griffon,” Canady said.
Canady believes that all his players play some key role on this team because in tennis, you have to win at every position.
“Having a really good player doesn’t matter that much. Your number six player winning is worth the same amount as your number one player winning,” Canady said.
Canady has high hopes for Ceara Bulridge. He believes she has improved dramatically since he’s been here and thinks that having a senior that has developed like she has will be big.
The Griffons face Maryville this weekend for their season opener. Maryville has only one returning player. The Griffons lost to them 0-9 last year.
Canady says that he really doesn’t know what to expect because they have only one returning player and a whole new lineup.
“We’re going to just have to find out because in tennis, there is no way to scout or anything like that, so I have no concept of how good they’re going to be,” Canady said. “We’re excited though, the girls are excited and it’s going to be a fun year.”