With the start of the rebuilding season coming out slow for the tennis team, they came across their first win under Head Coach Gemma Alexander and are using that to prepare themselves for the CUNYAC Championship.
The hiring of the new coach in August has been the biggest change for the women’s tennis team. Most of the girls are new to the team and sport. They’ve built chemistry and a strong bond between each other thanks to Alexander bringing them together.
Alexander is from Jamaica, Queens. She attended St. John’s University and is an NCAA champion for division one. She is passionate about where she’s from and her way of supporting and giving back to the community. During a recent interview Alexander commented on the first win of her career as being the head coach of York.
“It was fantastic, I came in late so I wasn’t able to recruit players,” said Alexander. “We had an open tryout and actually ended up with a few beginners but they were serious about wanting to give it their best shot.”
The girls have been practicing hard during the season. Due to the late hiring of Alexander, most of the team’s class schedule did not blend with the practice times. The team was still able to practice but sometimes not together. The first win was only a small indication of how hard they been working in the season.
“For them to actually get a win so that they can see the progress,” said Alexander. “We see it as the coaches but sometimes the players don’t. For us it’s how can the athletic experience feed into the academic experience.”
Most of Alexander’s main goals for the team is to have the players excel academically in school. Jessica Cherry, the assistant athletic director and assistant coach of the men’s basketball team believes they have a great set of girls and loves how the future is looking for the team. She admires how the group of girls support and love each other.
“They love each other, it’s like they’re all sisters,” said Cherry. “It’s a pleasure to go out there and see them all cheering for each other and seeing them hang out and I know they’re all going to be friends later on in life.”
“I think we made a fantastic hire with hiring Coach Gemma,” said Cherry. “She brings a wealth of experience with her, and she’s extremely knowledgeable. Her job isn’t only about coaching the team, but to enlighten them about real world situations and helping them become intelligent ladies. She doesn’t teach them about tennis alone, but she’s also teaching them about life.”
The two best tennis players on the team are Junior Joanne Ly and Senior Danielle Dunn. Both have a win in singles and are searching for one in doubles according to the York Athletics website. Dunn is happy with Alexander being her head coach and is preparing for the CUNYAC Championship.
“It’s awesome, she’s a great coach and she knows what she’s doing” said Dunn. “We’re gonna do our best, work hard and play our hardest.”
Although Dunn is graduating, Ly in her junior year has a chance to improve for next season with the help of Alexander.
The coach will have to use her experience and knowledge of the sport and hope it will bring success to the girls in the future. All the support of the coaching staff, teammates and students should be able to pull off a rebuilding season.