Photo Courtesy of Viking Athletics

Top: Senior Victoria Bensimon listens as head coach Brian Etzkin gives her some pointers

Bottom: Bensimon returns a volley with a forehand

 

February 7, 2017

Women’s tennis loses three at start of season

Cleveland State Women’s Tennis team looks to improve since last year and has hopes of making it to the NCAA tournament.

The Horizon League Women’s Tennis Preseason Poll, voted on by each head coach in the league, ranks the Cleveland State University Women’s Tennis third behind Youngstown State University at No.2 and the University of Illinois at Chicago at No.1.

As last season’s Horizon League regular season champions, the team will welcome back six letter winners including seniors Victoria Bensimon and Princess Gbadamosi, and the reigning Horizon League Freshman of the Year Isabella Spindler. As the season gets underway, Bensimon ranks eighth on the CSU Singles Wins list with 59 careers victories, while Gbadamosi is right behind her —almost cracking the top 10 with 56 career victories.

The women’s tennis team opened its season on the road with two matches, the first in Pittsburgh at Duquesne University on Friday, Jan.20, and the second one in Lansing, Mich. at Michigan State University on Sunday, Jan. 22.

As Senior Victoria Bensimon begins her final semester at Cleveland State, she said she does not feel added pressure to get her team to the playoffs, but would like nothing more than to make the NCAA tournament. Bensimon, 22, a Psychology, Health Science and Pre-med major with a minor in Biology, said she is excited about this season and knows the challenges that lie ahead.

“Pressure is a privilege, so it’s the last time I’ll be feeling this type of pressure, so I’m kind of excited,” Bensimon said. The women’s team has never made an appearance in the NCAA tournament.

“I want to make the NCAA — to do that for this team, for the first time ever— it would be amazing,” Bensimon said.

As the team builds on last year’s 8-1season, head coach Brian Etzkin said he knows they are on the doorstep of making the NCAA tournament.

“We only lost one player and we have some great juniors who have turned into seniors that can help lead us,” Etzkin said.

In his 15th season with an overall record of 186-175, Etzkin said he is motivated to continue coaching this team for a variety of reasons.

“I like being with the players and the team,” Etzkin said. “I like that we are a group of people trying to achieve a goal. He said he wants to build upon the history at Cleveland State and wants to leave something special behind.

“After 15 years, I’m thinking a little bit more about history,” Etzkin said. “I’m seeing how far we can push it -- how much better we can get.''

The team traveled to the University of Toledo on Jan.28 where the Vikings dropped their third matchup of the season losing by a score of 6-1. Sr. Victoria Bensimon picked up Cleveland State’s lone point of the day as she moved one shy of seventh place on Cleveland State all time singles wins list. The team returns to the tennis court on Feb.3 for their home opener against Western Michigan and Oberlin at CSU’s Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion. .



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