Athlete of the Week: Maria Cioffi ’16, Women’s tennis

Devan Schulte, Senior Writer

Maria Cioffi ’16 led the women’s tennis squad to a perfect 4-0 victory over Patriot League foe Colgate on April 3, boosting the team’s league record to 2-0 and calming her superstitious father’s nerves. The Williamsport, Pa. native claims to have no pre-match rituals, but her father swears that his alternating spectating positions play a role in his daughter’s successes.

At the beginning of matches, Mr. Cioffi can be found on the bleachers, but his location from there is highly dependent on how Cioffi is playing. If her results fail to improve during a singular match, he gradually hides with hopes that his daughter can’t see him. Needless to say, the senior standout’s father is typically visible on the sidelines, as Cioffi has gathered numerous wins in both singles and doubles matches throughout her career.

Cioffi dominated her opponents this weekend, collecting a 6-4, 6-0 win at the No. 1 singles spot and collaborating with teammate Michele Urbinati ’17 in the No. 1 doubles to secure a second easy victory against the Raiders with a 6-0 result.

“Colgate is a team that we always bring our A-game for. Something sparked an intense rivalry with them years ago and it conveniently helps us channel our best tennis heading into the Patriot League season. We’re hoping the momentum will carry us through the next three weeks as well,” Cioffi said.

Although the Orange and Blue are currently undefeated in Patriot League play, the team recognizes the need to continue on this streak in order to obtain its goals. Despite Cioffi’s aims to win her personal matches and help contribute to the team’s overall success, she also notes the importance of enjoying her last few weeks as a collegiate athlete.

“As the end of the season approaches, one of my goals has been to enjoy every match. Some of the closer matches can get stressful and I always put a lot of pressure on myself in the past, but this season I’ve tried to not worry about any of those things. I focus on trying my best and being content just being out there and playing tennis,” Cioffi said.

The past four years of Cioffi’s statistics speak for themselves, as she has secured 82 singles victories and 72 doubles wins to date, ranking fourth in program history in combined wins. Cioffi also concluded her junior year campaign as a First Team All-Patriot league selection, as she ended the season as the only unbeaten player in the Patriot League at No. 1 singles. Although she has enjoyed a tremendous amount of personal success, Cioffi is quick to recognize the influence and impact her team and coaches have had on her career.

“My teammates are great motivators and practice partners. They always know what to say to boost my confidence and at practice will work with me on any shots I’m having trouble with. We’re very team-oriented and it’s always helped me in tight matches to know my teammates are behind me one hundred percent,” Cioffi said.

Due to this team dynamic, the women’s tennis squad has enjoyed success both on the court and in the classroom, which is one of the reasons Cioffi originally decided to attend the University. She said that her choice to move to Lewisburg was a result of the great combination between competitive athletics and the student-athletes’ dedication to academics. As a sophomore, Cioffi was selected as the Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year and a year later, she was once again named to the Academic All-Patriot League team.

With only a few weeks left until Cioffi’s career as a Bison comes to an end, the mathematics major will try to solidify her lasting impression both on her program and on the University. More importantly, with nine matches left to play for the Orange and Blue, Cioffi hopes her dad will remain on the sidelines, his visibility clear.

 

Hometown: Williamsport, Pa.

High School: South Williamsport

 

2015-2016 Stats (As of March 29, 2016):

17-4 Singles

15-16 Doubles 

Seven-Match Winning Streak

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