By Andrew White | Staff Writer
Members of the men’s and women’s tennis programs spent their Spring Break down in Orlando, Florida as both teams played multiple matches in the Sunshine State last week.
During that time the women’s team played two matches while the men’s team played three. Both teams also practiced at the facility throughout the week. Most of the matches and practices were held at the new USTA National Campus, which will also host the Atlantic 10 championship this Spring.
“One of the main reasons we went down [to Orlando] was to get a feel for the court, check out the facility, and see where we would be competing this April,” said Director of Tennis, Vanessa Steiner.
The women’s team swept its two matches on the trip. The Dukes opened up the week by defeating Norfolk State by a score of 7-0 on March 8. The team followed up its victory with another impressive win over South Dakota on March 10. The Dukes won the latter 5-2.
Sophomore Julianne Herman, a native of Philadelphia, helped the Dukes in both victories by winning both her singles matches and doubles matches to finish 4-0 on the week. Herman won both singles matches in straight sets.
Herman was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week for her nearly flawless week.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Herman said. “It means a lot to me, I don’t think about it as a personal title, I think of it for our team because it helps us win the match.”
The men went 1-2 in Orlando, beating Norfolk State 7-0, and dropping matches to Furman and Valparaiso 4-3 and 7-0, respectively.
The Dukes opened up the week with a loss against Furman on March 7. The team split the six singles matches 3-3, but failed to win the doubles point.
Duquesne rebounded the next day though, beating Norfolk State 7-0. They finished the trip with a 7-0 loss to Valparaiso on March 10.
Off the tennis court, however, was where most of memories and team bonding occurred though. The team stayed in two separate houses while they were down in Orlando.
“We did a lot of cooking and cleaning while we were down there,” Atkins said, accompanied by a laugh.
In their down time the team also took advantage of the pool and hot tub located nearby the resort where the house was in which they were staying. They closed out their trip with a visit to Universal Orlando resort and theme park on Saturday.
Both Atkins and Herman agreed that the day at Universal was the highlight of the trip.
“It was a nice fun day in the middle of the season to checkout and enjoy spending time together in an atmosphere like that,” Atkins said.
“It was such a cool experience,” Herman said. “Going there together solidified the feeling that we are a family.”
After the trip, both teams look to continue their momentum as they resume conference play. The men’s team travels up to Olean, New York for a match against St. Bonaventure on March 19, while the women’s team has off until they face George Mason in Fairfax, Virginia on March 24.