Women’s tennis eyes Atlantic 10 Championship

Courtesy Photo | Senior Judy Li returns a forehand. She’s helped lead the Dukes to a 3-2 conference record with the Atlantic 10 Championships coming up on April 24.
Courtesy Photo | Senior Judy Li returns a forehand. She’s helped lead the Dukes to a 3-2 conference record with the Atlantic 10 Championships coming up on April 24.

Rich Donahue | The Duquesne Duke

The Duquesne women’s tennis team is heading into the final stretch of their season as they near the 2014 Atlantic 10 tournament.

The Dukes are currently 6-10 overall and 3-2 in A-10 play. Coach Joe Camillo said his team entered the season with the same goal as always.

“Coming into this year we set pretty much the same goal as we have had in the past,” Camillo said. “We always have a talented team and our goal is to make it to the semifinals of the A-10 tournament.”

As the season began, it looked as if the Dukes would be left out in the cold. The Red & Blue dropped five of their first seven matches to begin the season. One of their only wins came in a conference match against St. Bonaventure in Pittsburgh on Jan. 31. Coach Camillo attributed the early season struggles to the quality of their opponents.

“We struggled to a degree to start the season,” Camillo said. “We do schedule well and early on we played some pretty outstanding teams.”

After hitting a brutal portion of the schedule to begin the season, the Dukes rebounded with three straight victories starting with a conference win versus George Mason on Feb. 28. However, the good fortunes for the Red & Blue did not last. The team dropped five of their last six, including two conference matches to Saint Joseph’s and George Washington. Their only win in that time frame came against Dayton at home on March 28.

Senior Judy Li said the team needs to bring it together as a whole.

“We just need to come together as a team,” Li said. “We have played well individually; all we need to do is play well completely.”

Before the Dukes head to the A-10 Championship in Ohio on March 24, they will play their final conference match of the season Saturday afternoon against St. Louis in Dayton, Ohio. Junior Chandler Consonery said the match can really help the team’s confidence heading into the tournament.

“This match definitely means a lot to us,” Consonery said. “It can help our seeding for the A-10 tournament and we are going to try to give it our all no matter what.”

Going into the A-10 tournament, Li will be one of two Duquesne seniors competing in her last collegiate tournament. Coach Camillo said it has been great to watch her improve over the last four years.

“She’s been fantastic,” Camillo said. “She has made leaps and bounds in her play since she has gotten here and she has always played with a lot of intensity.”

Consonery said that playing with Li has been one of her favorite parts about playing tennis at Duquesne.

“Playing with Judy has been one of my favorite memories,” Consonery said. “When I visited Duquesne before coming to play here, I stayed with Judy. It is just awesome that she is able to balance being an athlete while being in the [Mylan School of Pharmacy].”

Li said she is excited to play in her last A-10 tournament and that she plans to “give it all I have.”

The Dukes will close their regular season on the road in non-conference action against Carnegie Mellon on April 18 and California (PA) on April 21. The A-10 Championships will be held in Mason, Ohio from April 24 to 27.