Despite a season-ending loss to Southern New Hampshire University in its Northeast-10 semifinal match April 20, the St. Michael’s women’s tennis team had a successful year, compiling a 12-4 record (9-3 in conference play).
Four players received postseason all-conference honors.
Head coach Greg Cluff, who received coach of the year for the league, recognized that it was an exceptional season for the team.
“We had a terrific season. We are very fortunate in having wonderful players with high goals,” Cluff said.
Cluff said that season highlights include the performance in the NE-10 conference, as well as team bonding in Orlando, where the Purple Knights played over spring break.
Cluff was not shy in acknowledging the achievements of his players.
“A number of our players this year were selected for the NE-10 conference team, and they were well deserved awards,” Cluff said.
Four women received all-conference honors in various slots because of their outstanding individual statistics. Among them was sophomore Emily Magee, who received second team honors at the No. 3 slot.
Magee was happy with how the overall season turned out. She said losing in the Northeast-10 semifinals, resulting in missing the NCAA tournament was the lone failure.
“I think we’re a bit disappointed we didn’t make it to the NCAA,” Magee said.
The team will face difficulties in the fall as it loses three players who are graduating this spring.
“I’m a little concerned,” Cluff said. “I just know that the seniors we’re losing are a big deal.”
The seniors’ departure injures the team statistically and, as Cluff said, culturally. He said it will be difficult next season to recreate the type of team the seniors “allowed them to have.”
“They’re the heart and soul of our team. They’re the leaders of our team,” Cluff said.
Marran Ranks, a mathematics and secondary education major, is one of the three graduating seniors. Named second team all-conference in the No. 2 slot, Ranks is pleased with her tennis career at St. Michael’s.
“It’s been a great four years. We’ve done a lot for the program,” Ranks said.
Though she would have liked to see the team make the NCAA tournament, Ranks said the team played well, and that despite losing her final match, her career had ended on a happy note.
She said she’ll most miss the camaraderie among her teammates.
“The part I’m really going to miss is the team atmosphere. I mean, I will miss the matches, but when I look back at it, it’s the team,” Ranks said.
She will also miss playing under the direction of Cluff, who she cited as one of the reasons she chose to attend St. Michael’s. Ranks said she knows the team will be in good hands after her departure under Cluff’s direction.
“He cares about our team so much,” Ranks said.
Cluff, who’s record as head coach is 99-52 is excited to bring in new players and watch them develop.
“It will be interesting to see their growth both as players and as competitors,” Cluff said.
Magee also knows that getting new players adapted to the faster pace of play is a big part of next season’s success.
“I just hope we can get the freshmen used to the college level,” Magee said.
Ranks is leaving confident that her teammates will continue to see success on the courts.
“I think they’re in good hands with our coach,” Ranks said.
Cluff said as long as the girls enjoy the experience, it’s a successful season.
“Our number-one goal will be to have fun,” Cluff said.