Nicole Kenneally has been head coach of the women’s tennis team for eight seasons. During that time, the team has compiled 87 victories, making her the second winningest women’s tennis coach in CU history. In the 2003 season, the team (which ended the season ranked 39th nationally) won the most matches in her tenure as they went 14-9 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The team currently has a 12-6 record and a national ranking of 30th. With four conference matches remaining, this season could be her finest to date. Kenneally recently took time to talk to the Campus Press about the season to this point.
CP: Coach, could you talk about the season to this point and how you feel it compares to your pre-season expectations?
Kenneally: Coming into the season, I felt like we really had a great group of players. They have worked hard and so far, they have reaped the benefits of all their work. Obviously, we are not totally finished with the season yet. I won’t look back until after the season is over.
CP: Which victory would you consider the teams biggest this year and why?
Kenneally: To be honest, I would say one of the key victories for us this year was actually Oklahoma State. It was the first time we lost the doubles point and came back to win the singles. It was an important conference victory because Oklahoma State is always a really good team. It was the momentum that we finished with in that match which helped us against William and Mary. So on paper, obviously William and Mary looks like the biggest victory, but I think the most important victory was Oklahoma State.
CP: Coming off the recent road trip, the team was struggling. Why do you think they had so much trouble on the trip and what have you talked about to avoid further struggles?
Kenneally: Well, Texas and Texas A&M is a hard road trip. We also played Fresno State, which is a top-15 team. At any point, even if you have those three matches in a row at home, it’s a tough stretch. It’s one of those things that I don’t necessarily place the emphasis on the matches being away. Obviously there are different adjustments that you have to make when you are on the road. As a whole, we talked about refocusing and making sure we stay on track with what we had been doing previously.
CP: How big was the match against Denver from a confidence standpoint?
Kenneally: The last win was important. The victory against Denver was a good one because they are a really good team. It was really nice to win after losing all three doubles matches.
CP: Is there any one person who takes a leadership role on the team or is it a group effort?
Kenneally: I think we take on leadership as a whole. Obviously a lot of the girls look up to Monica (Milewski) because she is doing well at number one singles and she is holding her own and competing hard. They are all competing hard, so I think that they all look to each other for motivation.
CP: How does making the NCAA field work in tennis and how do you feel about the team’s chances at this point?
Kenneally: For the NCAA Tournament, they pick 64 teams, just like the basketball tournament. I think we have a really good shot at getting in there (currently ranked 30th) and then it is a matter of going and winning rounds.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Ben Dignan at email@example.com