Women’s tennis not discouraged by small roster

Cosumnes River College’s women’s tennis team is just beginning their season with a small team of only four official players, but that is not discouraging the team’s spirit.

“It affects us in the fact that we don’t have a number three [ranked] doubles and we don’t have a five [or] six [ranked singles player] playing, so obviously that hurts our team’s chances,” said Head Coach Brandon Ellis.

“But the thing about tennis is that it’s largely an individual sport. The fact that we have less players doesn’t mean that they will be playing shorthanded.”

Because the team has four players on their roster, they will have to forfeit two out of the six singles matches by default. This means they would have to win the four remaining matches in order to advance.

The five players that we have are really committed, and we really want to represent our school.

— Clarence Fernandez

Ellis said he is confident that his team can handle the challenge. His main focus is his commitment to developing the players.

“I’d rather have smaller numbers [of players who] are into it – competing and learning – than have a full team with people who aren’t as committed,” Ellis said. “The people who are out here are all really well into their commitment.”

Sophomore Clarence Fernandez, who has been playing tennis for five years, said she understands the challenges students must face in regards to the level of commitment needed to be eligible to play on the team.

“Being an athlete, it’s really hard. You need to put in the hours,” Fernandez said. “That’s why probably a lot of women don’t want to join the tennis team; because they are not really committed. The five players that we have are really committed, and we really want to represent our school.”

Technically, the team has four players on their roster. However, there is another player practicing with the team.

Freshman Jacquelyn Bongcaron, who has been playing tennis for three years, transferred to CRC from an art school and cannot play any games until her transcripts are cleared.

Bongcaron said she is hoping she’ll be eligible to play next season, and until then, she is is focused on practicing with her team and working on her technique.

“I really want to play outside of the box and experience that college level of playing,” she said.

Freshman Paradise Whalen, who just started playing tennis, said she has been a little nervous about being the greenest player on the team.

“We don’t have very many players at all so our lineup is pretty short,” she said. “There’s a lot of space in-between the ranks, like the top player is really good, and then there is me at the bottom.”
Although she has been nervous about playing against experienced players, she’s excited to play. Whalen said her main focus was to have fun learning the sport.

“My personal goal for the season is just to have fun and learn how to play and have better hits,” Whalen said.

Despite having to forfeit two matches, the team is very positive and in good spirits for the season.

“Hopefully we can make it to the state tournament, because we made it last year and it was really fun,” Fernandez said.