Franciscan University of Steubenville is not best known for sports. The motto at this university is “academically excellent, passionately Catholic,” and they stick by that. The school focuses its funding on academics and faith. The third pillar that often seems to fall by the wayside is sports. However, lately one sport has been rising into prominence at this institution.
Enter the women’s tennis team. It is pretty difficult to get heads to turn at this school, unless it’s involving one of the more popular sports, such as rugby. The only way to do it is to be absolutely dominant, and that’s exactly what this team has done.
The Lady Barons are undefeated and have won all of their matches 9-0 or 8-1 excluding their first game, which was still a win (6-3 versus Westminster). The scores of the individual matches prove not only that Franciscan is winning but also that the team is blowing the other teams out. Most scores are adding up to 6-0 or 6-1 in the favor of the Lady Barons. The team’s accomplishments thus far are truly an impressive feat.
The 2017-2018 AMCC Tennis Coach of the year, Scott Greve, is impressed at the team’s success. “Their hard work, determination and desire to play for something or someone more than themselves (is what gives them the edge),” he said.
“Br. Daniel Klimek (the team chaplain) asked the team to consider what their ‘why’ was (this season), to what or who would they dedicate their efforts, pains and sacrifice for,” said Greve. “Each team member chose something or someone and plays for that cause this season.”
Playing for a cause must be a powerful strategy, and with the way the women are dominating, other Franciscan teams should take notice.
The season is about halfway over, and the Lady Barons are trying to duplicate their success for the rest of the stretch. When asked how they will do so, Greve responded by saying that he and his team plan on attacking their upcoming games “the same way we’ve approached the first half of the season.”
“The team is committed to working hard in practice and taking that work and putting it into our matches,” said Greve.
Greve also talked about the team’s goals: what the ladies look to accomplish this season and what they’ve already accomplished. “The ladies began the season with the goals of winning two non-conference matches against teams we have never beaten. They have already accomplished this goal with wins against Messiah and Westminster. We also have a goal to repeat as conference champions,” said Greve.
The team still has some work left to complete that goal. They have two matches left against talented teams, but if they manage to keep their roll going, they will win the AMCC for the third straight year.
When asked about postseason play, Greve didn’t seem too concerned, saying, “It’s too far away to even think about the NCAA Tournament. We still have a conference title to capture and even then the tournament doesn’t take place until May. We have a lot of work to do before any of that.”
The Lady Barons hope to continue their hot streak against Muskingum in their homecoming match on Oct. 5 at 4:30 p.m. with an alumni audience.