May 24, 2005

First-Year Success leads to Future Optimism for Head Coach

May 24, 2005

Having finished my first year as a Bronco Coach, the feeling of real optimism toward the future of this team has begun to engulf my mindset. Getting to know the team and them getting to know and trust me as a leader could not have gone more smoothly. Sure, there were obvious hic-ups to be expected. Overall, I truly believe we have begun something special here at Santa Clara University.

This past season was filled with so many great memories and accomplishments. What most people outside of our circle don't realize is the effort these players gave. In the fall, we put in so much hard work and effort to making changes and steering the program in the right direction. The players were rewarded for their efforts by having tremendous success in the fall tournaments. When January came, we were all excited about what was going to happen. Then came the first of multiple injuries. Freshman Myra Davoudi, a San Jose native, had been showing much promise about her contributions to the team. Unfortunately, the blue courts at Fresno State had other plans for her as in the first game of her match, a wrong turn on the courts caused a season-ending injury to her right knee. This was a hard blow to our tight-knit squad. Then came another injury! Sophomore, Kimberly Daniel, who skipped the fall with multiple injuries, had made her way back into the line-up. This is when the wear and tear of everyday practice began to set in, as her wrist began to cause severe pain when hitting a forehand. Then her other wrist began to flare-up when she was hitting backhands. In the beginning, she was tough and could deal with the pain. Luckily a three-week break in the middle of our season allowed for some much needed rest. During this period, another freshman, Flavia Miracle, was diagnosed with a stress fracture in here forearm which would sideline her for the remainder of the season. Luckily Kim was tough enough to play through the rest of the year, although in severe pain.

Having been through all of these injuries, this team of six players, most fighting some ailment, enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in program history. I know they will remember this season for the rest of their lives.

Now comes the focus toward the future. Only losing two seniors for next year, this young but battle-tested team is hungry for greater success. One great addition to have returning to the line-up is junior Casey Knutson. Casey, who played in the 3 and 4 position the previous year, was forced to medically red-shirt due to major injuries in her legs. The legs are healing properly and Casey is back working herself into top form. Myra is ahead of schedule with her knee therapy and should be ready to for the beginning of next year. Flavia and Kim are being allowed the proper rest for them to ensure a full healing of their pain. Imagine what we could have done being healthy!

We also have the additions of three new top players for next year in Samantha Georgino (Bakersfield), Stephanie Galainena (Burr Ridge, Ind.) and Stephanie Herrmann (Los Altos). These three players will add to our depth making us even stronger.

After one year full of transition and adversity, I have no doubt that this team will build on their success. The returning players know exactly what is expected of them and all are hard workers. I'm sure the new players will quickly make the necessary adjustments to collegiate tennis. Overall, this is an exciting time and I look forward with much optimism towards the future!

GO BRONCOS!