Serving it up
By Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor Photos: Fredonia Athletics
Think back when you were a freshman in college playing sports - seeing the field may have not been an option let alone having success during that year.
Many freshman would redshirt as coaches tried to get them acclimated to the college game life. Those times have changed. Now, if you are a freshman and are good you will see the field - it doesn’t matter what sport.
When Jane Chiacchia stepped on the court at Fredonia State College last season she had some big shoes to fill. Her older sister, Anna, had been making a name for herself on the tennis courts while she was still at Hamburg High School.
So, when it was Jane’s time to shine last year that’s exactly what she did. Chiacchia only lost three times in singles all season long as she made a great first impression. She also won early and often, which game her a lot of confidence as the season went along.
“I came in my freshman year very determined to just get one of the top six spots. I ended up getting the fifth spot and that alone was enough success for me to be happy the whole season. As our season started and we started having tough matches I relied on my athleticism to win the matches. Once I started to win early on I just kept pushing myself to keep the streak going for every match that followed,” stated Chiacchia. “Winning early on defiantly boosted my confidence throughout the season. I was able to compare my opponents and if I got down in a match I was able to boost myself back up by telling myself I just beat someone similar to this player I can do it again.”
Winning, and competing is something that Chiacchia definitely wanted to do coming out of Hamburg. She was able to take in a lot of her sister’s matches, and saw that she could compete on that level. Seeing the success her sister had only fueled the fire when Chiacchia stepped on the court last year. Just like when they were in high school, the two sisters got to play together again.
“I hoped I would have success early on. I saw most of my sisters matches and wanted to have the same level of success or more than she did her freshman year,” stated Chiacchia. “Playing with my sister is just second nature at this point. Our whole lives we have constantly played with each other and pushed each other to be better. We are very competitive with each other even to the point that if I see her winning her match it pushes me to win mine just so I can say I won too. It’s also great to have someone on the side line that knows you so well that they know exactly what to say to motivate you at any given moment.”
While Anna is the more athletic of the twpo, as said by Jane. Jane is the coach on the court. She is the one that will look at the point and try to find a way to dissect it. Jane is the type of player that will look for a weakness across the net.
Anna, is the type of player that will try and hit through you. She will look to use her athleticism to get through a match.
“My sister is defiantly the better athlete, her whole physique screams athlete. Which makes her a very good tennis player and able to beat players that might be better skilled. I am more the analyst and coach I can understand the game on a different level than just a player, “stated Jane. “The main aspect of my game that I can improve is being able to win the point. I am very strategic and athletic but lack the powerful ace shot to end the point. I can do it in practice but during the match I think too much to execute the final shot making the point last longer until my opponent makes a mistake.”
With all the success that Chiacchia had last season, there was one player, Courtney Koran, that gave her trouble. Every player has that one that just has that type of game that can give you fits. Whatever Chiacchia tried to do just wouldn’t work.
She hopes to try and get some revenge this year if they take the court against each other again. Chiacchia knows to be Koran she will need to be on her A game.
“Courtney is a great player. I went into the match knowing I would have to try different styles of play to disrupt her rhythm,” stated Chiacchia. The second time I played her she just had an awesome day. She made no errors. It’s very difficult to beat someone who never makes a mistake and aces you on everyone of yours. I hope I get to compete against her again this season.”
Playing on hard courts can take a toll on the body. Chiacchia knows she needs to be able to take care of her body so she can finish a hard court college season, especially a season that plays a lot of matches in a short amount of time.
She also wanted to make sure she was in good shape heading into her sophomore year so she could avoid the sophomore slump. While some players play tournaments over the summer, Chiacchia practiced with her long time coach, and sisters.
Playing against her sisters is better than hitting the tournament scene.
“To keep my body healthy, I heat and stretch every day before practice and matches. Also after matches before I go to sleep I like to foam roll and stretch again which helps in recovering from a match. Our trainers are also a big help,” stated Chiacchia. “During the summer I train with my long time coach Joe Tretter with my two sister. We play matches against each other all summer which can sometimes get very heated. Playing my sisters during the summer helps my mental side of the game the most because no other opponent will test me mentally as much as playing my siblings.”