Ale Guerra has always been a leader here at UNCG.
As an undergraduate tennis player, Ale had a then school record 47 singles wins along with 37 wins in doubles and the No. 12 ITA national ranking.
The 2008 SoCon Player of the year also helped lead the women’s tennis team in 2012-2013 to a 14-7 overall record and an 8-2 mark in Southern Conference play as a graduate assistant. In that season, UNCG peaked in the national rankings at No. 65.
Now in her second year as head coach, Guerra is primed to lead a new generation of Spartans. When asked how much she has progressed as a coach since her first year, Ale stated that
“When I took over last year everything was ready to go thanks to [Program Director] Jeff Trivette so that made life alot easier. This past summer I had to learn a lot, basically on how to fill out every little form to full recruiting, and being completely hands on the program. I am beyond blessed to be part of the team and it is really the girls that make me want to be better everyday.”
Shifting focus to how her team performed at the Elon Invitational, Guerra explains “I believe we went into the first tournament of the year at Elon being confident. The results we had this year definitely show the maturity our players have gain coming out of a tough last year” she said. “They know they have the tools they need to be successful.”
Using that invitational as well as this past weekend’s Seahawk Invitational as stepping stones to a successful spring season, Guerra concludes with “I hope my kids will learn and improve each day with practice and match play this fall to get us ready for a strong spring. Our current team has all the tools to be competing for a SOCON championship.”
While there is a burgeoning career on the women’s side, there are two careers on the men’s team that are nearing its completion.
Greensboro natives Warren Bryan and Will Albright, once high school rivals, have been the No. 1 doubles team on the squad for the past year and are entering their final seasons as Spartans.
With the end finally in sight, Bryan marvels thinking about the end.
“It’s definitely exciting. It’s a lot different now than it was last year, just because now that I can see the end, it gives me a lot more appreciation of where I’ve come and also enjoying the team that we have now and the moment… it’s definitely a lot more enjoyable.”
Albright echoes this sentiment, adding “At this point, it’s all gravy from here. Being a 5th year player and completing my four year agreement, I’m just looking forward to the extra opportunity this season.”
Currently, the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) period in the fall is when the Spartans as individuals can get better by participating in a maximum of four tournaments during this semester. This serves as the off-season for tennis players in preparation for the NCAA season in the spring, where it’s more team based and the pursuits for conference and national championships begin.
When looking forward to the spring season, Bryan responded “We play UNC out of conference, which is big, since they were number one in the country last year. We also host ETSU, which has been the top team in the conference for the past couple of years. Usually they’re ranked too, so it will be a big one if we can take them down.”
Albright seemed more excited about the new competition on the schedule.
“We play some new teams this year in Valparaiso and Troy, who we haven’t competed against in my time here. Also in our doubleheader before the second semester starts with Carolina, we also play Bucknell, and I feel as if that will be a fun day.”
As for leaving a legacy, Albright wants to be remembered for setting a benchmark for his team.
“I hope my teammates really remember me and continue to use myself as an example as their career progresses. I just want to be someone that contributed positively to the athletic department and the school as a whole.”
Warren parallels his partner’s aspirations, while also adding a goal of his own.
“My dream goal for this year would be winning Spartan of the Year. Because if I do win, it means that I’ve given it all that I had every single day and made a lasting impact to those around me. I want to be someone who is remembered as someone who gave it their all every day and made the experience for everyone around me better.”