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dailyorange.com

30 april 29, 2014

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tennis

Freshman core has program looking forward to future By Matt Miselis staff writer

With a 4-3 win over Wake Forest on April 18, Syracuse snapped a three-game losing streak, but it wasn’t what impressed Amanda Rodgers most. Three freshmen combined to win a singles and a doubles match for the Orange — a sign that they were flourishing from increased playing time. Rodgers believes SU will benefit from their growth moving forward. “I think it puts a mark on next year,” she said. “Whoever stays, we’re going to have an amazing team.” Syracuse (5-15, 5-9 Atlantic Coast) had its season come to an end following its 4-1 loss to No. 42 Florida State on Thursday in the ACC tournament. But the talented freshman class, led by Rhiann Newborn and Valeria Salazar, poses a bright future for the Orange. “All season long they have been under fire because they had to step up in situations where upperclassmen were injured,” George said. Newborn’s leadership was tested when George paired her with freshmen Maria Avgerinos and Olivia Messineo. Newborn and Avgerinos were a tandem for the majority of the season. In a loss to North Carolina’s Carolina Price and Whitney Kat – the No. 11 doubles team in the country – they were two freshmen playing like veterans. They built a 7-6 lead on the Tar Heels. But Price

and Kay ultimately pounced on the inexperience of the Orange. The two freshmen never showed in their body language that they weren’t capable. Neither chided the other during the match. “It’s going to help us a lot,” Newborn said following the loss to UNC. “ I feel that we are going to beat a lot of these good ACC doubles players we’re going to come up against. We’re going to keep fighting, keep working and staying positive.” Known initially for her quiet personality, another freshman, Salazar, learned from doubles partner Maddie Kobelt. The duo earned crucial victories against ranked opponents, most notably against Clemson on April 11. Kobelt and Salazar dominated Clemson’s then-12th-ranked Yana Koroleva and Beatrice Gumulya in a 8-2 win. Then, Salazar showed her transformation by providing the energy that her coaches have wanted her to display since becoming a part of the program. “I’m much more positive and feisty and have more energy,” she said. “When I got here, the coaches told me I had to be less mellow and be louder.” As SU looks to build into the ACC, junior Komal Safdar recognizes the potential of the program moving forward. “Every one of them has improved as a competitor,” Safdar said. “The fact that we have so many freshmen shows our depth and our further potential.” mjmiseli@syr.edu

April 29, 2014  

April 29, 2014