Women’s Tennis Hosts Villanova Invitational


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Women’s tennis hosted three teams at the Villanova Invitational.

Noah Lanouette, Staff Writer

This past weekend, Sept. 16-18, Villanova women’s tennis competed against Drexel, Temple and Delaware at the Villanova Invitational. The scrimmages, which consisted of both singles and doubles matches, were set up to prepare for the upcoming spring semester season while the weather is still nice. The Wildcats earned at least one singles win each day of the invitational, with senior Amanda Rivera-González (6-2, 6-4), freshmen Maggie Gehrig (4-6, 6-3, 10-6) and Emi Callahan (6-3, 6-4) and junior Bella Steffen (7-5) all winning over the weekend. On Friday, Gehrig/Callahan (7-5) got the lone doubles win for Villanova at the invitational. 

Head coach Steve Reiniger was “really impressed” with the team’s performance, especially considering that five seniors graduated this past spring, making for a very young team going into the matches. He was also sure to applaud the freshman duo of Callahan and Gehrig for their doubles performance together, despite the fact that many top high school tennis players do not play doubles. 

“I think as a whole, the team did much better, the doubles looked much better [than this time last year]” Reniger said. “There’s definitely a lot of room to improve, but to start off with the first tournament this fall season, it was good to see that we were doing what I stressed at practice.” 

One of those things he said he would like the team to keep working on in doubles to prepare for its tournament at West Point is continuing to execute what it is working on in practice, improving its aggression at the net in doubles play. His wish for singles play was less specific, though, as he is just looking for added experience under the players’ belts before a tournament at Navy the following weekend. He knows that in practice so far, they have focused heavily on doubles, but still hopes that they are playing their best tennis in singles and doubles by that time. 

Through all of these fall competitions, Reiniger wants one thing above all: a better picture for the spring. 

“I want to know the lineup for the singles and doubles heading into the spring season,” Reiniger explained. “So that’s always my goal: knowing who plays where in singles and what doubles combination, what pairings I’ll use for the lineups in the spring.” 

Last season, the group went 3-9 overall and lost in the first round of the Big East Tournament to Connecticut. There’s no doubt Reiniger is hoping that what he’s seen so far with the team leads to an improved spring record and a further run in the tournament. 

This week, the Wildcats head up to New York to take part in the Army Tournament starting Friday, Sept. 23. Like the Villanova Invitational, these will be unofficial matches, so they do not affect the team’s record. Regardless, they look to play their best and string some wins together. The following Friday, Sept. 30, marks the beginning of the Navy Tournament in Annapolis, Maryland, which will be the final set of scrimmages for Villanova this fall.