Women’s tennis preview: Ambrosio returns after stellar freshman year


Photo by Graphic by Brian Georgeson

Silvia Ambrosio was last year’s BIG EAST Freshman of the Year.

Coach: Jody Bronson (32nd season)

2015 results: 12-9, Second round BIG EAST Tournament exit

Key Departures: Erin Gebes, Aleeza Kanner

Players to Watch: Silvia Ambrosio, Diana Tokar

Overview: With only one senior, Tokar, and one junior, Paula Tormos Sanchez, the program is returning significantly younger than in recent years. Adjusting to new collegiate level competition will be crucial for the youthful roster to achieve success.

“With the freshmen, we are going to try to push them to stop playing cautiously and start playing aggressively and control the match,” Bronson said.

The relative inexperience of the team is reflected in Bronson’s goals for the season, but that doesn’t mean the ultimate end game has changed.

“We have a number of different goals: first off, we want to become better players. We want to look for each player consistently getting better over the course of the season,” Bronson said.

From there, she hopes to grow into a legitimate BIG EAST contender, and eventually make a push for the NCAA tournament.

It will take time, however. With the new infusion of youth, look for regular roster shake-ups during the early season as coach Bronson pieces the lineup puzzle together. As of right now, nothing is set in stone and coach Bronson emphasizes that no one’s position is safe.

“I couldn’t even begin to say who’s going to play where,” she said. “Honestly, until January comes I’m going to have no idea who’s playing first and who’s playing sixth.”

Key Leaders: After earning high honors as the 2015-’16 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, Ambrosio looks to return with another standout season after finding success at the competitive 1st doubles slot.

Meanwhile, as the team’s sole elder statesman, Tokar looks to provide veteran leadership to her younger teammates while continuing to improve in her own right.

Bronson assures, however, that past success and seniority do not elevate a player in a sport where each individual match is weighted equally.

“In our sport, every position matters equally. We have to win four points. And whether you play one singles or six singles—everyone still has to win their point. Every point matters.”

2016 Schedule: The Women’s tennis season kicks off Sept. 9 with the Milwaukee Tennis Classic, and continues through the fall with individual play at a series of invites, meets and tournaments. Head-to-head match play begins Jan. 28 against the University of Illinois at Chicago.