A Word from the Coach: Reigning NE10 Coach of the Year Speaks on Women’s Tennis Season
By: Lilyen McCarthy
Women’s tennis, led by Coach Rebecca Fakas, started their season ranked second in the Northeast 10 Conference, receiving five first-place votes in the coaches’ poll. Like last season, the Panthers worked to reach the conference championship match, keeping a watchful eye on top competitors like Franklin Pierce, Le Moyne and Southern New Hampshire University.
“Our biggest challenge this season, like every season, is keeping a completely healthy roster for the condensed season we have,” said Fakas, who was named the head coach of the Adelphi University men's and women's tennis programs in January 2020.
In past seasons, the tennis roster has consisted of five or six players, a very small team in the case of even just one or two injuries. This fall season, nine athletes make up the roster, giving the team a little more leeway for injury, if needed. Players can be rotated around, some only competing in doubles, some only in singles, and others in both. Smaller rosters in the past have required players to do more work than with a larger roster.
Challenges outside of keeping a healthy roster lie in the games against top teams. These top teams include two of the teams listed above, Franklin Pierce and Southern New Hampshire, but also New Haven University. Other matchups are outside the conference yet within the region such as Queens College and Wilmington University.
About conference coaches holding the Panthers in such high regard, Fakas said, “All the coaches vote and the team itself has created a legacy. A high-ranked vote comes from the name we’ve created and respect we’ve gained from past years.”
The Panthers add two new faces to the team this year, Katarina Liedbeck and Sanne Selmer Gilje from Sweden and Norway, respectively. Both are freshmen entering the team. The remaining players are all returners, most of them coming from the starting lineup of last season. With a successful and experienced squad returning, Coach Fakas expects a good season this fall.
If you would like to support the women’s tennis team, the Panthers have three home matches left for the fall: October 1 against Southern New Hampshire, October 8 against Le Moyne and October 12 against New Haven. All games will take place at noon. These remaining home competitions are set against top teams in the conference.