Tennis Club encourages low-stakes, competitive environment

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Photo courtesy of @newhavenclubtennis on Instagram.

Members of the Club Tennis team with Charlie the Charger, Nov. 7, 2021.

Julianna Pegnataro, Contributing Writer

When it comes to playing sports at the NCAA Division II level, students can feel overwhelmed and anxious. But for those seeking to play tennis on a less competitive level, the University of New Haven has a tennis club. The team holds practices every Monday and Wednesday. Tryouts will begin the week after spring break.

Cody Silverman, a university alum, started the club four years ago and said, “When I started at the University my freshman year, the club tennis team was really struggling with leadership and recruitment.”

Silverman became president during his freshman year and remained until his junior year. “We increased the number of active members from 5 to 30,” he said. “Now, the club is in good hands, and we have great retention of members.”

Cody said his most memorable, yet challenging experience he had with the club was competing in the first club’s sectional tournament at Harvard University. He said,“This was an opportunity for the club to face great competition and it was a wonderful bonding experience.”

Silverman encourages other students to join. “It is a great way to get exercise and meet really great people. We are transitioning into a more competitive team, so if you played tennis in high school, this would be a great opportunity to continue playing tennis at a collegiate level,” Silverman said.

Aryana Agli, a sophomore forensic psychology major, is currently the president. She discussed her plans for her fellow members of the Tennis Club, saying, “The club began with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere that we are trying to keep while also driving towards a more competitive level.”

About her personal experience in the club, Agli said “We’re all laughing and having fun, all while pushing each other to do better. If you have a tennis background, but do not want to commit full time to the varsity team, that’s what we are here for!”
Other members of the executive board include junior business management major Matthew Cordel who serves as current vice president and freshman Leanna Franco as historian.

Franco said she is happy she joined the team. I was looking for a group of people with similar interests as me. I met some really great people while doing something I love.”

“People who have a tennis background should consider joining the Tennis Club,” Cordell said. “We have created an environment that is competitive, fun and just an overall enjoyable experience. In the past year we have developed a plan that will continue to make ourselves more competitive so we can really challenge some other schools, but we are still out there having a great time during practice.”

Cordell also said the organization wants Club Tennis participants to feel at home. “One thing we are trying to incorporate is off court activities that get us all together to just have a fun time,” he said. “We are more than a team but a family.”