TENNIS : Syracuse gearing up for Big East tournament in Tampa this weekend

first_img Comments The team van was practically silent for two hours. Fresh off a crushing loss to unranked rival Georgetown, a mix of fatigue and disappointment hushed a team usually seen high-fiving and shouting on the court.‘All of us were extremely disappointed, you know, really thinking things over and thinking how we can get ourselves better, and that’s what this team has always been about,’ senior Emily Harman said.The No. 57 Orange (13-5, 6-2 Big East) rebounded from the loss to beat Seton Hall 5-2 Sunday, winning all but one of the five singles matches. After a day off Monday, the team flew to Tampa, Fla., Tuesday morning to prepare for the Big East tournament. The No. 3 seed Orange has a bye into Friday’s quarterfinals, where the team will play the winner of the Louisville-Pittsburgh matchup.Despite the loss to Georgetown, SU kept its No. 57 ranking, but yet another upset against Louisville or Pittsburgh on Friday would likely end what has been a historic season. Though the defeat to Georgetown damaged the team’s at-large chances for the NCAA tournament, head coach Luke Jensen’s team hopes to learn from the loss heading into the do-or-die part of the season. To reach the NCAA tournament for the first time under Jensen, SU needs a strong performance in Tampa.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘This is what it’s all about,’ Harman said. ‘As a Division-I athlete it’s what you prepare for. Whether it goes right, it goes wrong, in the end this is what you work for.’The Orange beat Seton Hall with just five players after Breanna Bachini’s season was ended by abdominal and foot injuries at Georgetown. The team was set to play shorthanded again, but Alessondra Parra was cleared Monday. She traveled to Tampa, Fla., with her teammates and is set to play for the first time since breaking her right big toe two weeks ago.On a team that prides itself on its intensity, Parra stands out as a particularly ferocious competitor. On match days she high-fives her coaches, cheers the loudest and hits the ball harder than anyone.But Parra didn’t play against Georgetown. The team came out flat and got beat by a team SU had never lost to under Jensen, jeopardizing its entire season.‘We’re the target for everyone, and we kind of just forgot about that and went out there and played unprepared,’ Jimena Wu said.Last Friday, Jensen said Georgetown made an event of the match at McDonough Tennis Complex, scheduling the men’s and women’s teams’ contests at the same time. The Hoyas played up to the occasion in front of the large crowd.Jensen said Georgetown displayed an energy level and turned in a performance he had never seen from the hosts during his tenure. It was an intensity the Orange did not match, and it fell in straight sets in four of the six singles matches.The loss hurt, but it did spurn SU to rebound with a 5-2 trouncing of Seton Hall, where the depleted Orange won despite forfeiting No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles.‘We really just brought extra energy, extra intensity into that match, and I think that really just kind of spread from court one to court six,’ sophomore Maddie Kobelt said.Jensen said the team will scout Louisville and Pittsburgh on Thursday to prepare for its quarterfinals matchup, where any relapses in intensity could spell the end of the season, and for seniors Harman and Parra, their college careers.Collective shortcomings at Georgetown fueled the upset. At the Big East tournament, a complete performance will be needed to keep the season alive.‘I know this team as a whole, and what we pride ourselves in is continuing to make ourselves better no matter the situation,’ Harman said.After practice last Tuesday, associate head coach Shelley George told her players to pack their bags for the Big East tournament ahead of time, reminding them that they would be in Florida until Sunday if they won.‘It would be the sweetest feeling ever,’ Parra [email protected] Published on April 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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