Q&A with head coach Nicole Kenneally
The CU women’s tennis team will begin their new season Sept. 21, led by head coach Nicole Kenneally.
Honored as the 2007 Big 12 Coach of the Year, Kenneally is committed to building a team of determined and committed players. Entering her ninth season as head coach of the Buffs, she has high hopes for the team this year.
Kenneally recently sat down to talk with the Campus Press about the team’s upcoming season.
The Campus Press: How are preparations coming along for your first invitational at New Mexico?
Nicole Kenneally: Good. We’re actually only in our third day of practice right now. We’ve had a lot more rain this year, more than the last three years combined. But the girls are getting out there and working hard, and that’s the most important thing.
CP: What new faces will we be seeing on the team this year?
Kenneally: We have two new freshmen, Christiane Pheil and Abbie Probert. They are both going to be great additions to the squad, but it’s too early in the season to say exactly where they will fit in. They will definitely contribute a lot.
CP: Are any returning players emerging as team leaders?
Kenneally: That’s actually a hard question because I think everyone is a team leader on our squad right now. They all have a voice. We are a small enough squad that everyone has the opportunity to take on a leadership role.
CP: Are there any big challenges facing the team right now?
Kenneally: A lot of the girls are just getting back into the school year, which can be really tough. They are all trying to get back into a rhythm as we start practicing together. Just keeping up and staying organized at the beginning of the year can be challenging.
CP: What will be some of your toughest matches?
Kenneally: We start off the fall season with two invitationals, and in the spring we will be competing on our very first Big 12 schedule. It will actually be really fun to play all the Big 12 matches in a row rather than spread out as they have been. We will also be going back to William and Mary, where we upset them last year. We have a lot of great matches this season.
CP: Does the team have any goals they want to accomplish this year?
Kenneally: They definitely do. Winning the Big 12 is always a goal we have, as well as making the NCAA finals. Many of the girls also want to make it onto the academic teams (Big 12 and Intercollegiate Tennis Association), which is something that is really important to our program.
CP: As a coach, what is your favorite part of starting a new season?
Kenneally: Just seeing the energy and excitement of all the girls. The beginning of each year is like the beginning of a new life. No matter how you did the season before, you get to start over from the beginning. The freshmen can be a little clueless at first, but watching them grow and get a year of experience under their belt is a big thing. For the seniors, I tell them to enjoy every moment. It’s their last time to be a part of the team, and should make the most of it while they can.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Amanda Walck at email@example.com.