By Ronald Hanaki
As the snow begins to melt and thoughts turn to the spring, senior Elizabeth Bartoli cannot wait to start her final season as captain of ESU Tennis.
Bartoli said, “I am looking forward to the spring just to have a successful season personally and also for the team.”
Bartoli took the official campus tour before coming to ESU.
“ESU really stood out to me just because I liked the environment, and realistically, coming here to get a four-year degree was the best bet financially,” stated Bartoli.
Of course, it does not hurt that Bartoli’s father is ESU Professor of Psychology Dr. Paul Bartoli. Dr. Bartoli also serves as the Assistant Coach for ESU Tennis.
His daughter is a dual-major in biology and exercise science with concentrations in physical therapy in both majors.
“I knew I wanted to do PT (physical therapy), and ESU was a good basis for me to stand out in order to get into PT school,” said Bartoli.
ESU Tennis Head Coach Al McCormick was the one who recruited her to play tennis.
Bartoli is an attacking baseline player in the mold of Australian tennis pro Lleyton Hewitt.
“I like playing baseline, but I like coming to the net and the transition when you get a short reply and can take advantage of that ball,” said Bartoli.
Bartoli has also grown to appreciate playing doubles.
“I am playing with [fellow senior] Devin [Presby] and having that senior power is fun,” said Bartoli. “It’s made me like doubles a lot more.”
When Bartoli looks back over her illustrious tennis career, there are two highlights that stand out in her mind.
The first memorable moment was when the team qualified to play in the season-ending PSAC Tournament for the first time since 2011 last season.
The second highlight is from a match that took place over spring break last year.
“I had a really long emotional match last year in Hilton Head over spring break,” said Bartoli.
“I lost the first set, but I came back in the second set and went into a tiebreaker,” said Bartoli.
“If I won, we won the meet,” said Bartoli. “Everyone was watching, so there was a lot of pressure.”
Bartoli won the second set tiebreaker and took the match by winning the decisive third set to lift ESU past Clarion University.
“I think it is important for everyone on the team to experience something like that,” stated Bartoli.
Bartoli’s mother is a first grade teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary School.
“When people ask me about our daughter, Lizzy, I say she is great,” said Mrs. Cindy Bartoli.
“Lizzy is a compassionate leader who always knows the right thing to do on and off the court, and I am so proud of the young woman she has become,” said Mrs. Bartoli.
But according to Lizzy herself, her dad is more of the disciplinarian.
“He expects more of me,” said Bartoli. “He wants me to do well.”
The two share a nonverbal form of communication.
“He can just look at me, and I say to him that I know I should have come to the net,” stated Bartoli.
“He [her father] is great with the mental game,” said Bartoli. “He knows when to coach me and when not to.”
McCormick helps her with the more technical and mechanical aspects of playing tennis.
“The two collaborate great together,” stated Bartoli. “They have improved my game.”
Although Bartoli has played as high as second singles for ESU, she is playing fourth singles and second doubles for the Warriors this season.
“This is probably the most rewarding spot in all four years,” said Bartoli.
This season, Bartoli is a team captain and is helping mentor the underclassmen on the team.
“As a captain, I am always there for them. If they need someone to talk to, I think I have made myself available,” said Bartoli.
“Everyone on the team loves tennis no matter the skill level,” said Bartoli.
“We keep our grades up, and I think we have one of the most well-rounded girls on campus, especially this year,” said Bartoli.
But above all, Bartoli wanted to express her gratitude to her parents.
“I thank my parents for their love and support throughout my entire tennis career,” stated Bartoli.
“They have been at all my matches,” said Bartoli. “My mother rushes from work and watches the end of our singles matches.”
“After a great win and a hard loss, it’s irreplaceable. I wouldn’t want anyone there other than my dad and mom,” said Bartoli.
But this is Bartoli’s final season, so her emotions are bittersweet.
“I am going to miss my father being there with me,” said Bartoli.
“I do look forward to playing with him in mixed doubles, but it’s not the same,” stated Bartoli.
Bartoli is a member of SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee). Among other things, members of SAAC can talk to the administration about issues that are important to their respective sports.
“They resurfaced the courts for us last year,” said Bartoli. “It was unbelievable.”
“But I hope the new AD [Director of Athletics Dr. Gary Gray] pushes for more–or an indoor court. We would improve a lot if that [an indoor practice facility] was available for all of us,” said Bartoli.
Bartoli plans to go to graduate school for physical therapy after ESU.
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