The new season began for Wheaton Women’s Tennis at with an unfortunate opening loss to Mount Holyoke, 7-2. The Lyons came back to secure their first win later in the week. Coach Pauri Pandian set up an extensive practice to help them win, 5-4, against Springfield. He wanted to reinstate his teamwork ethics of “team culture and player development” from last season. With these components in mind, Women’s Tennis is looking forward to a great year.
The doubles are going to be a main area of improvement this year, and will stylistically become a more aggressive play. While having closer positioning to the net, both players shall try to score more points there. “To execute this, we've had to do a fair amount of work on volleys,” Pandian said. It appears to have paid off, as Wheaton has won three-out- of-six doubles matches this season. A majority of those wins has been by Ines de Bracamonte ’19 and Isabelle Garvanne. However, as Pandian said, “we still have plenty of room to grow in this area.”
The game on Saturday was against Smith College, the first away game of the season. The aggressive nature of the doubles was expected to carry on into the singles. “Smith tends to lob a decent amount in doubles, and they like to play long points on the singles court,” Pandian said prior to the matchup. The Lyons practiced to advance on those tactics and enforce their own skills on court. If they win against Smith, Wheaton’s record will be 2-1 in women’s tennis and for the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).
As this is his second year being a head coach at Wheaton, Pandian is eager to do better for the tennis teams. His inspiration comes from the strong sense of community here on campus. “Ive been thrilled to experience that [community] every day, and I think that’s the most significant attribute of the school that makes Wheaton the special place that it is,” Pandian said. He said he enjoys seeing the close bonds within the Wheaton tennis teams, as it not only builds character, but it also contributes to their game. Many aspects will play into the success of Lyon’s tennis this season, and Pandian is determined to keep it going and under control.
*Update: Wheaton Women’s tennis beat Smith College 6-3