(image credit: Elena Marinelli)

Shadowed by talented competitive Division II athletics teams, Southern New Hampshire University offers several club teams for individuals who prefer to compete in their favorite sports without the added pressure of winning.

One of the newest club teams is tennis. Club tennis started last year when now sophomores Molly Corson and Nathan Grimm went to the recreation department to share their love of the sport.

“We wanted to give people the opportunity to play tennis at a more relaxed pace,” said Corson, who stands as the vice president of the club. “I love tennis, and I want to share that love with other people who like tennis without having to worry about winning or losing.”

Although the team started last fall, they were not able to participate in any tournaments until this year. This is due in part to not having a coach. If the team had found a coach, then they would have been able to play in tournaments last year.

This year, club tennis does in fact remain coach-less; however, Athletic Supervisor Elena Marinelli travels with the team and stands in as the interim coach until the team finds a full-time coach. With Marinelli as supervisor, the team has qualified for tournaments. Thanks to her help, the club has “kicked off this year,” according to Corson.

Club tennis is part of the USTA New England League and now competes in tournaments across the region. There are 35 teams including Southern New Hampshire that compete in the league, including the University of Connecticut, University of Maine, Brandeis and Dartmouth.

30 of the 35 teams came together over the weekend (October 20-22) to compete at Harvard University for the first major tournament of the season, and Southern New Hampshire’s first of its club’s creation.

The tournament took place at Harvard University’s Barron Tennis Pavilion, which is home to 26 state-of-the-arts tennis courts. The tournament contained 10 pools, meaning three or four teams were placed in groups and those teams all played each other. The team that finishes first out of the four teams will go on to play in the gold bracket. Second, third and fourth place teams finished in the silver bronze, and copper brackets, respectively. Southern New Hampshire finished in the copper bracket where they came in fifth out of the eight teams that qualified for that bracket.

Because it was their first tournament, Corson is very proud of the way her team played. She said everyone put their best foot forward and played the best they could. Most importantly, she said everyone had a fun time.

“It was so much fun,” explained Corson. We were all on cloud 9; it was amazing. There was a great sense of community; people were playing cornrow between matches, and Head Tennis was there stringing rackets for free and giving away free stuff. It was such a wonderful experience.”

Their next match is November 18 when they host the Penmen Classic. They compete against six teams in the New England Region. Team names and the time have not yet been determined.

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