By Bontã Hill
The dark clouds that hovered over the women’s tennis program at City College appear to be dissipating into sunny days.
Entering her third season with the women’s program, second as head coach, Kelly Hickey is eager to lead the Rams to conference championships and state title appearances.
Hickey has no players returning from last season, and is introducing a whole new team to campus that has her excited about the upcoming season.
“We have a ton of great, spirited, energetic girls this season to replace the spots from last season,” Hickey said. “We’d like to take the Coast Conference title and then move forward and get into the team playoffs.”
Two newcomers, Anna Kegulski and Adrianna Creese, played tennis at St. Ignatius High School. Both played for the City College club team last semester and worked out last year with strength and conditioning coach John Balano.
“We had really good workouts with coach Balano, and the experience we gained from the club team will carry over to the upcoming season,” Kegulski said. “We have a good group of girls and we’re excited.”
Gone from last season’s team are Barbara Coffey and Tiffany Lam, who both finished the season ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Lam finished the season ranked 46th in the nation in singles competition, and she paired with Coffey on the doubles team. The pair ended up ranked 24th in the nation.
Hickey doesn’t see a problem this year with having so many fresh faces. She wants to focus her attention on doubles initially, and then put more time into singles.
“Because we have so many new bodies, were trying to fit all the talent and personalities together and grow together as a team,” Hickey said, adding the team can grow faster as a unit instead of individually. And she has a plan to make it happen.
“I believe what I didn’t do last year was set expectations, and I went into the season a little naïve. This off-season we clearly had expectations on paper, printed. The players got it on the first day and read them so we know we need to do A, B and C in order to be successful day in and day out.”
The Rams will have their first scrimmage Jan. 28 against Consumes River College, and their first Coast Conference match will be Feb. 22 against Chabot College at 2 p.m.
“Hopefully, which I haven’t done and really want to do, is send some individual players to the state tournament,” Hickey said. “We always make it to the [state qualifier], the match before the state tournament. I’d like to get some girls into that state tournament.”