Concordia’s tennis team served up a hard-fought weekend of playoff action

The Concordia Tennis Club at IGA Stadium

The men and women’s teams each played their final matches of the season this past weekend.

While the varsity sports season ended for the Concordia Stingers, playoff action has not gone away completely. The Concordia Tennis Team, funded by the Concordia Student Union (CSU), is a club where students of Concordia University compete each year against opposing university teams around the Montreal area.

Though recognized as a club at Concordia, the team has all the elements of a varsity team. “The players are serious and the team has the structure,” said coach Rafaela Panizza. Panizza and co-coach Valentin Oswald are optimistic that someday, the team will become recognized as a varsity team.

March 29 marked the first day of the Quebec Tennis Playoffs at the IGA Stadium. For Concordia, the men’s team led off the action. Facing third-seeded McGill University in the quarterfinals, Concordia came in as the sixth-seeded team in the tournament.

The playoff format creates six simultaneous matches for singles competition. Two players from different universities go up against each other, and the university with the highest number of wins advances into the semifinals.

Concordia member Sergio Zaccaria lines up a backhand.
Credit: Heloise Appourchaux @alittlebetterthanadream

Through all of the matches, tough battles ensued. Some of the matches went to a tiebreaking set, some involved playing through physical pain, and some included continuous rallies. Despite a result that favoured McGill, Concordia’s coaches could not say enough about their players’ valiant performances.

“I think today showed how much our team has been working all year,” said Panizza after the men’s quarterfinals. “[Our team] has been serious since day one, and even if the other teams are strong, today showed that we make [winning] very hard on the other teams.”

The focus shifted quickly to the women’s quarterfinals held on March 30. In this matchup, Concordia faced the Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or. Concordia entered the playoffs as the fourth-seeded team while Sherbrooke was fifth. Concordia came to play in the quarterfinals.

A dominant 5-0 team win clinched Concordia Stingers a ticket to the semifinals against the top-seeded Université Laval Rouge et Or. The matchup came that same afternoon with a ticket to the provincial finals on the line.

Despite another hard-fought battle, Concordia came up short in the semifinals. Yet, this season represented a step in the right direction for the Concordia Tennis Team. The men’s team put up a tough fight against McGill while the women’s team won their quarterfinal matchup—the coaches feel this is only the beginning.

At the end of the day, both Panizza and Oswald believe that the most important takeaway from being in this club is the enjoyment it brings. “Every week, we tell our players that the goal is to have fun,” Oswald said. “We tell them to enjoy this time of being in university, going to classes with your teammates and enjoying their studies; because by creating a real social link between them, you create a family, and that is the best method of getting better.”

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