Preview: Tennis begins condensed 2021 season

The Shippensburg University tennis team is returning to the court after a shortened 2019-20 season. 

Last spring, the tennis team’s season was shortened due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. However, the team was still able to play in nine contests of their 20-match schedule. They went winless in that stretch, finishing 0-9. 

One big change for the team this year is the addition of first-year head coach Alison Feeney. Feeney was named the head coach of the team in August 2020. She served as the faculty athletic mentor (FAM) during the 2019-20 season. 

Feeney has been a geography and earth science department professor at SU for 23 years.

In terms of tennis experience, Feeney has competed in multiple adult tennis leagues. She has a 4.5 rating in the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP), The rating system used by the United States Tennis Association (UTSA). Feeney also has experience in postseason regional and district tournament competitions, spanning across multiple states. 

One player that should contribute to the team’s success is junior Jenna Sluymer. Sluymer joined the team during the shortened 2020 spring season. In her first season on the team, Sluymer immediately emerged as one of the team’s top players. 

During the truncated season, Sluymer competed in three singles matches and four doubles matches. One of those single matches was against the No. 2 ranked competitor from Immaculata University. Sluymer was also a part of a doubles win against the No. 1 duo from Winona State University. 

Due to the pandemic, there are a handful of players that are going to be making their collegiate tennis debut this spring. One of those members is junior Sharon Matesun. Matesun joined the team during  spring 2020 but did not see any match action. 

Another player that is going to make her debut for the Raiders this spring is freshman Skylar Walder. Walder is coming off a very successful high school tennis career. She was named in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) First Team in her junior and senior years at Morris Knolls High School in Denville, New Jersey. She also contributed to a championship her senior year as the team captain. 

The final player to watch for the Raiders this season is sophomore Sahar Islam. Islam is entering her second year on the team. Islam competed in seven singles matches and seven doubles matches. She was a part of the team’s No. 2 doubles pairing and was ranked as the 4th singles player. 

The Raiders spring season is condensed to teams in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). The Raiders will face off against PSAC East foes Kutztown University, West Chester University, Bloomsburg University, Shepherd University, and Millersville University. The tennis team opened their season Monday at Kutztown after Wednesday’s previously scheduled contest was moved up due to forecasted weather.

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