Ten teams met Oct. 24 and 26 to compete in the Florida State University Fall Invitational tournament.
Although the Florida A&M University women’s tennis team suffered a defeat, they are keeping their competition in mind for the upcoming spring season.
The Lady Rattlers, a fairly young team, couldn’t quite pull together a victory in this tournament.
However, players said the fall tournament is only preparation for match play and game execution for the future.
“It gets me ready for all aspects of the game and helps me to get over my nerves,” said Samaria Bailey, a magazine production student, who has been playing competitively since her high school years.
Bailey fell to Stetson State in the main round, losing 6-1, 6-0 and lost in the consolation match 6-6 (3-7) 6-4, 2-6.
FAMU’s No. 1 seed freshman Rachel Pye, who took first place in the Historically Black College and University Invitational college tournament, said the level of competition was “much higher this time.”
Pye said she speaks for the rest of her freshman sisters when she says it is difficult to transition from juniors to college tennis.
“It’s whole new level of competition,” Pye said. “This tournament is giving me the experience and preparation I need to compete in college tennis.”
Pye, who has been actively playing tennis for eight years, took on the No. 1 seed from the University of South Florida and fell short of victory losing 3-6, 2-6.
Immediately an underdog, the Lady Rattlers are entering the season one player short of a complete roster, which will likely make it difficult for the team to muddle through the season.
Despite the thin roster, head coach Rochelle Goldthreate, whom the players call Coach Nikki, said the show must go on.
“This is the fall season and we really don’t play any dual matches. These are based on individual performance. So right now we’re OK. If we still have five in the spring, then we’ll have some issues,” Goldthreate said.
Goldthreate said that even though the score didn’t show it, her players played extremely good tennis.
“The results didn’t show how good they played on court.”
With three freshmen on board, this young team has to go in strong and learn how to transition from high school to its newest level of competition.
“I’m confident that we will do well in the spring. I’m seeing improvement in the fall that will carry over to the next season,” Goldthreate said.
Bethune-Cookman College coach Trey Bogue, whose team finished second in the MEAC last season, agrees that the FAMU squad is certainly up and coming.
“Nikki is doing a great job with her top recruits, whom we definitely had an interest in. She has a good nucleus to build around. I have no doubt that the women’s team will be back at the top of the MEAC in the up and coming years.” Bogue said.
The Lady Rattlers look to take this experience with them in the spring season and bring more fire and intensity to every game.
Both coach and players are confident about the season and are prepared for victory.
“You can put a fork in (the competition teams) ’cause they’re done,” Bailey said.