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Young Saints roster has season cut short two matches in

| Friday, May 15, 2020

Due to COVID-19, almost the entire Holy Cross Saints women’s tennis season was cancelled; however, Holy Cross (0-2 CCAC) was able to play two team matches before the pandemic escalated. These results continued their 15-game losing streak dating back to 2018.

Unfortunately, the team was also not able to win any individual matches as they went 0-7 and 0-4 against the University of Saint Francis and Aquinas College respectively. Freshman Clara Ruediger, hailing from Waldenbuch, Germany, came close to victory with a hard-fought loss to St. Francis’ freshman Denisse Lizano 6-3, 7-5. Her strong performance might indicate a positive change in the program’s fortunes as Ruediger headlines a Holy Cross lineup with seven freshmen, two sophomores and no upperclassmen.

This extremely young roster has the chance to gain experience together and improve rapidly once collegiate competition resumes. When asked about the team’s performance in the spring, head coach Eric Mahone said he was impressed with his team’s competitive drive and was optimistic about the future.

“I’m most proud of our team’s work ethic this year,” Mahone said. “We started something special. I am really looking forward to next season.”

The loss of this season seemed to be especially unfortunate for Mahone, who has yet to win a team match in his two-year stint at Holy Cross. Mahone has completely rebuilt the Saints’ program, and this season could have allowed his team to gain some confidence and momentum as his young players continued to grow in skill.

He now has to delay this process of gaining experience to next season while trying to maintain the progress the team made this year. Mahone appears to be ready to tackle these problems directly and is confident the team can sustain their sense of community and competitiveness, he said, through online methods during their separation in quarantine.

“Naturally they were very disappointed,” Mahone said. “As a group, they are hungry for next season. They have stayed connected with the [Microsoft] Teams App.”

Mahone said he was also impressed with the Saints’ commitment to academics despite the difficulties of online learning.

“I am very proud of how well our women did in the classroom,” Mahone said. “Our team GPA for the fall semester was a 3.7, and our GPA for the spring was a 3.6.”

Next season could be a chance for Holy Cross to reassert itself as a contender in the CACC with the chance of earning the first team win under Mahone.

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