A surprise ending to the spring sports season for East Carolina University athletics, the American Athletic Conference and most, if not all of the colleges and universities across the nation. With that in mind, we’re left with no conclusion to many of our favorite college teams seasons.
The ECU women’s tennis program was looking to finish the season strong and establish first-year head coach Kirstin Burgess. Burgess took over for long-time Pirate head coach, Tom Morris after he retired March 1.
After a 22-3 record in the 2019 season, the Pirates were not off to the start they had hoped for in 2020 as their record up to the season’s cancellation was 6-7. The Pirates flirted with a .500 record for most of the season, but with injuries to two of their best performers from the 2019 season in junior Alisa Diercksen and senior Nastja Rettich there just wasn’t the same level of play out on the court for the Pirates.
With eight matches left to play on the season and no ranked opponents remaining on the schedule, ECU was set to play just three of those remaining competitions at home.
First up, a likely loss at Davidson College on March 20. The Pirates defeated the Wildcats last season on the backs of Rettich, Diercksen and ECU alumna Celia Ruiz. None of these three would have played in this year’s contest for the Pirates. Yes, both teams struggled this season as the Wildcats also hovered around .500 for much of the season, but even at 6-5, the Wildcats did maintain a fair home record of 4-2.
Next up, a trip to Charlotte on March 21 where the Pirates would have faced the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers. Both the 49ers and Pirates faced off against top-10 opponents, North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Both squads suffered sweeps at the hands of the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack.
This is another in-state matchup that I just don’t think the Pirates would have been able to win. Each squad took on Coastal Carolina University and Charlotte’s dominant 5-2 win over the Chanticleers compared to East Carolina’s competitive, but tired 1-4 loss just holds more weight.
Against the College of Charleston on March 28, the Pirates would more than likely have earned a win against a team that, for the most part, had been taking advantage of less competitive teams and just winning when they should.
Before a run of conference matches, the Pirates would have hosted Richmond University on March 31 who closed out the season very hot with three straight victories in dominant fashion. Richmond also managed a tight 4-3 victory over Davidson. In my opinion, the streak combined with the Davidson victory is enough evidence to give the Spiders an edge in a matchup with the Pirates this season.
The first match in conference play for the Pirates would have been the Tulane University Green Wave on April 3. Tulane was fortunate enough to have played mostly home matches this season. Even with 11 matches at home, the Wave only managed an 8-7 record. Without a doubt, the Pirates have the lineup to take down the wave, especially at home.
The last match at home for the Pirates, a tough 8-5 University of Memphis on April 5. Another loss for the Pirates as the Tigers were on the road or at a neutral site for 11 matches and still boasted several blowout victories throughout the season and a well over .500 record.
Back on the road, the Pirates would have faced off with the University of Cincinnati on April 10. These two teams met twice last season and split the meetings at one win each. The Pirates beat the Bearcats at home 4-3, but the Bearcats got the last laugh as they defeated the Pirates 4-1 in the American Conference Championships.
I believe the Pirates 2020 matchup with the Bearcats would have resulted in a victory for the Pirates as the Bearcats seemed to rollover against competitive opponents and the Pirates this season were a tough win to earn for any team that beat them.
Lastly, the Pirates would have finished strong on April 11 at the University of Connecticut. The Huskies were less than impressive this season, finishing just 3-7. This is a matchup the Pirates dominated last year, winning 5-2.
With what was left of the season, the Pirates would have won four and lost four. Totalling a 10-11 record on the season for the Pirates.
The Pirates were not a bad team this season, but they were a team plagued with injury and they were scheduled to play just six matches at their home court and a home court that isn’t even on their campus at that. It’s a shame that this season was cut short as the time spent with coach Burgess would have been far more important than any win or loss this season.