Championship loss guides team to a family culture

Sarah Smith

Head Coach Sean McCaffrey made sure when he came to Georgia Southern from Armstrong that he implemented a family atmosphere within the women’s tennis program on and off the court. 

The love for these players stems from McCaffrey’s own upbringing and learning from his wife and two daughters how to relate and be there for the team.

“I’m hard and tough in my own way, but the route that I took was to find a way for inclusion and transparency,” McCaffrey said. “For me, it’s about being honest and being loving for all the girls on the team.”

It is important to McCaffrey that the team honors the two seniors, Arianne De Winter and Paula Boixader, who worked hard for points last season. Boixader was named on the ITA All-Academic Team, finishing the season 15-10 in singles and 16-10 in doubles. De Winter was named on the All-Sun Belt Second Team and the ITA All-Academic Team.

“A lot of the balls that we hit throughout our practice [and] in our training are owed to them,” McCaffrey said.

The team is coming off of a conference championship loss, falling to South Alabama. Performing well in the conference was an outcome that many people didn’t expect, but put eyes on the Eagles for the 2019-20 season.

“It’s more than respect now,” McCaffrey said. “It’s respect. Sure. But now there’s going to be fear. When there’s fear and hope on the opposite side of it… that’s a scary, scary thing. And that’s what we have.”

The Eagles’ next match will be against Texas A&M, ranked 18th in the nation, in Orlando, FL. 

“I’m expecting everyone to find a way to rise up to all the challenges and opportunities, win or lose, especially when you play a team like Texas A&M,” McCaffrey said. 

With this weekend being the only weekend the ladies will have off in a few months, the team will take advantage of the rest and recovery time.

Sarah Smith, The George-Anne Managing News Editor, [email protected]