Women’s Tennis Uses Fall to Improve Doubles Play


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Caitlin Fisher is a senior captain this year.

Amanda McKean, Staff Writer

After coming off of a losing 2021-22 season, the Villanova women’s tennis team is looking towards the future and building up a younger and fresher team for the upcoming spring season. The Wildcats are led by head coach Steve Reiniger, who is in his 25th season as head coach. 

Although the main competition occurs in the spring, the Wildcats are hosting their first tournament of the season next weekend at the Villanova Invitational. 

“The whole fall season for me is like a practice season,” Reiniger said. “It’s preparing us for the spring season; it’s about trying to find doubles combinations and the proper lineup. Figure out who’s the strongest.” 

The Wildcats graduated five seniors last year, leaving the team with only three seniors and one junior. As a result, the fall season and incoming tournament will provide the younger members of the squad the chance to show their skills and make their case for why they should be on the lineup.

“They’re awesome,” Reiniger said about the freshmen. “We’re really lucky they fit in well with the team. That’s the most important thing, not to have high-maintenance players who don’t fit. So we’ll check that box right off and their tennis is good as well.” 

Besides the freshmen, one of the players to watch this season is senior captain Caitlin Fisher, who has had the most experience out of anyone on the team. This will be her fourth year in the lineup, and according to Reiniger, she will most likely be in the top three of the lineup to start the season. 

In addition, when it comes to making improvements from last season, the Wildcats are looking to strengthen their doubles results. 

“Last year, I was not pleased with our doubles play,” Reiniger said. “So, this year we started off with a double boot camp. There has been a big emphasis on how to play doubles and the adjustment is to try to get both players at the net. We work on it every day in practice. There is probably not a practice that goes by that we haven’t tackled it.” 

A big component in improving doubles play may be improving the chemistry of the team. Senior captains Fisher, Amanda Rivera-Gonzalez and Taylor Gould are tasked with making the younger players comfortable while also setting an example for them on the court. 

“They all have been named captains, and they have to lead by example first and foremost,” Reiniger said. “That’s at practice and at matches as well.” 

However, the Wildcats recently faced a setback in the amount of time they had to practice. Last week, more than half of the team tested positive for COVID-19 and had to quarantine. However, the team made the most of the situation to improve team chemistry.

“Five of them were in the same hall at the hotel, so I think they all got closer, which is kind of nice,” Reiniger said after the team came back from quarantine this week. “Just wish they didn’t get COVID.” 

At the end of the fall, Reiniger’s main goal is to have an established lineup for the spring,  which will only happen if the Wildcats are playing their best in the fall. 

“By the end of fall, I want to hit the ground running,” Reiniger explained. “I want to know the lineup because our spring season is a little different this year. We have a lot of matches before spring break, so I can’t go into the spring without having a really good idea of what the lineup is going to be. Not only in doubles but singles. Maybe even more importantly singles because the bulk of the points in matches is from singles. I want to see who’s playing well, who belongs where. I hope the cream rises to the top and everyone is playing their best so I can have a good evaluation of everybody.” 

The Wildcats’ next big tournament is the Villanova Invitational, where play starts on Friday, Sept. 16, and continues through the weekend at the Villanova Tennis Complex on West Campus. Some of the teams expected to play at this invitational are Drexel, Delaware and Temple.