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Dean plans to change her ways as three freshmen join team

In her 20th season overseeing the women’s tennis team, coach Penny Dean will have a somewhat different season in 2009 and 2010. With three of her seven players being freshman, Dean will change up some of her usual coaching tactics this year.

‘Penny will take on a different mentality this year,’ junior Christine Chiricosta said. ‘She’ll probably be more strict and have more intense practices to get [the freshmen] used to college [athletics]. I expect she’ll be upping the conditioning to some extent.’

Jade Johnson, Maddy Eccleston and Katelyn Grubb will be joining the Falcon roster this season, according to the veteran coach.

‘I am really looking forward to having Jade, Maddy and Katelyn actually on campus, and I know they are excited about it too,’ Dean said. ‘This should be somewhat of a rebuilding year in the beginning, but I think we can become a hurricane force in the Mid-American Conference.’

Senior Samantha Kintzel said that although the freshmen have not yet played a match for BG, they have already become close with one another this summer.

‘We talk on Facebook and text. We’re already friends [with the freshmen],’ she said. ‘They’re really outgoing and fun and with a high level of experience. They have connections with [opponents] and that will help us during matches.’

In her final season with the Falcons, Kintzel is looking forward to giving it her all on the court.

‘I want to have fun and try to get in the best shape so I have the ability to stay out there for long matches,’ Kintzel said. ‘I want to give every ounce of effort, win or lose, and know that I did my best and had fun.’

While many people take the summer off to hit the beach, visit Cedar Point or just relax, the team has been hard at work competing in tournaments across the nation.

Dean said the women all prepare during the off-season to get ready for the collegiate season.

‘Most players competed in a few tournaments,’ Dean said. ‘All kept in shape with conditioning and lifting.’

In mid-August, Chiricosta was in the middle of a mother-daughter tournament, her second this summer.

‘I’ve done quite a few tournaments this summer,’ Chiricosta said. ‘This one in Newport, R.I., one in Vancouver, Wash., and two college circuit tournaments.’

When she’s not playing summer tournaments with her mother, Chiricosta meets up with her Falcon teammates at competitions.

‘We all try to sign up for the same tournaments over the summer,’ Chiricosta said. ‘Jess Easdale and I traveled together and played doubles together [a couple of times].’

Though Dean does not know yet what will be in store for the team this season, she is confident it will be a good year for the Falcons.

‘It remains to be seen what they will bring to the team dynamic,’ Dean said. ‘But I expect it to be positive enthusiasm, hard work, good doubles, [high] morale and a lot of victories.’

The women will have almost a month of practice with the team before their first meet in September. The Falcons will host the BG Invite Sept. 19 and 20 to kick off their season.

‘We really like that [we will host the tournament] because it gives us the home-court advantage,’ Kintzel said. ‘It’s great hosting a tournament because our friends and family can come watch, and it helps to get the nerves out being in our own home with familiar surrounding.’

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