With the indoor and outdoor courts at the college’s new Athletics and Events Center, the women’s tennis team now has three different courts to play and practice on.
The Bombers have been using the outdoor tennis courts during both the fall and spring seasons. But when inclement weather forced them indoors, they had to hold practices and matches at the Reis Tennis Center at Cornell University during odd hours.
Senior captain Kelsey Harness said having to share the facilities led to inconsistent practice and match times that conflicted with classes.
“Before, we never knew exactly what time we’d be practicing if it was raining because we would have to go to Cornell late at night whenever we were able to get the courts,” she said.
This season, the team has outdoor courts equipped with lights as well as indoor courts in the center of the track in Glazer Arena to play on. Now that the team does not have to use the facilities at Cornell, it can hold practices every day from 4 to 6 p.m.
The Wheeler Tennis Courts at the Athletics and Events Center have a plexipave surface that is more resistant to weathering than the older college tennis courts near the S Parking Lot.
Junior Lauren Salladay said the new outdoor courts also offer more flexibility for the team since it can use them to get extra practice in during the day or go inside if it’s raining.
Three of the Bombers’ home matches this season have been moved indoors because of rain. The new indoor courts have a harder surface that causes the ball to bounce higher and are enclosed with plastic curtains that hang close to the out lines. The floor is also marked up with lines that draw up infields for baseball and softball as well as goal creases for soccer and lacrosse.
Moving inside has not seemed to bother the team, as it shut out Empire 8 Conference foes Elmira College and Hartwick College in their first two home meets on the makeshift courts in Glazer Arena. The two wins extended the Bombers’ streak of conference wins to 53. They also defeated the SUNY-Cortland Red Dragons 5-4 indoors last Thursday.
Harness said the team has practiced on both the outdoor surface and the harder indoor surface to prepare for all types of conditions that come up during play.
Salladay said she has to adjust her swing while playing in the indoor and outside facilities.
“The outdoor courts are a smooth flat surface and inside is a slow rough surface, so each court requires a slight change in your game to adapt,” she said.
Harness said the indoor courts required the team to develop stronger grips on the racquets and put more topspin on the ball.
“The inside is really great for spin because the floor is really grippy,” she said.
Junior Allison Young said the indoor courts take away elements that affect visibility on the court.
“When playing outdoors, environmental factors are present such as sun, wind, clouds and varying temperatures, which test you mentally,” she said.
The team also deals with rainy weather conditions in its spring season, which Harness said requires less individual work and more fine tuning as a team or doubles pair.
Harness said playing on the three different surfaces will help the team train year-round.
“We need to make sure that we take advantage of the new facility in the winter as much as possible, and I believe that we will see results,” she said.