‘Nova impresses at Bloomberg Invitational

Kaitlin Gallagher

By Kaitlin GallagherStaff Reporter

This year’s fall season opened up with a bang for the girls of Villanova’s varsity tennis team. The girls traveled to Bloomsburg with the men’s team to compete in the annual tennis event that draws some of the region’s best talent. After their play this past weekend, the girls are already making their presence known in the Big East Conference.

On the opening day of play, Villanova came out strong in singles play against Bucknell, taking 9 out of the 10 matches played. This was a significant victory for the women, since they have historically struggled against their in-state rival. Their stellar play continued throughout the day against Bloomsburg University and in doubles against Binghamton.

Despite their impressive showing at the tournament, Villanova was unable to clinch first place for the weekend when they were edged by the Binghamton women. The Wildcats put up an impressive fight against the Bears with standout performances by senior Candice Carlin, sophomore Lyndsey Lostritto and freshman Carla Erskine, all of whom were victorious in their singles matches. They maintained this performance throughout the tournament by going undefeated in their remaining singles matches.

For most teams, an outcome as impressive as this would be exciting enough. However, this year’s captain, Carlin, is hoping that this weekend foreshadows their success at a much bigger tournament down the road: the Big East. Held in Tampa, Fla. each year, the Big East Tournament showcases the best teams of the conference. As many know, the Big East Conference expanded with the additions of Marquette, DePaul, South Florida and Cincinnati. These additions have made it even more difficult for teams to qualify for the tournament, making an invitation all the sweeter.

However, although the season’s outlook looks promising for Villanova tennis, history has not been on their side. Last season, the Wildcats were robbed of the final spot in the tournament when UConn and Georgetown, who both had equal records in conference play, were chosen to participate in the tournament over Villanova. It was an unlucky sequence of events, since Villanova had defeated UConn in the regular season and shared the same conference record as both teams.

In this rare circumstance, a committee of coaches met to discuss how to break a three-way tie between these teams. After much debate, the final spots were awarded to UConn and Georgetown, leaving Villanova empty handed for another year. This year, Villanova is looking to end this drought. Although Carlin took over the No. 1 singles spot her freshmen year at Villanova, her ultimate goal is to culminate her college career at the Big East.

“We have one of the best teams we have ever had throughout my four years playing at ‘Nova,” Carlin said. “I can already tell from this past weekend that our girls have created a great team unity on and off the court.”

This year’s team consists of seven returning players including sophomores Lyndsey Lostritto, Daniella Phillis, Jaclyn Williamson, junior Ashley Reed and seniors Candice Carlin, Leighann Reilly and Taryn Cappellini. Cappellini returns after a brief hiatus from the team, spending a semester in Paris. Five freshmen will also bring talent and depth. These five team members are Kate Carnahan, Carla Erskine, Kyrie Hupka, Courtney Reed and Colleen Walter.

After losing the final spot to the tournament last year, it is no wonder that the team is looking forward to one of their toughest matches against UConn later this season.

“Our new girls are very dedicated, have positive attitudes and are enthusiastic to win,” Carlin said. “They are all used to competing at a high level.”

With the energy, talent and dedication that is apparent on this team, we are all anxiously waiting to see just how far these Wildcats will go.