Assistant coach Jennifer Meredith brings high energy, passion to SU

first_img Published on February 18, 2020 at 10:08 pm Contact Christopher: cscargla@syr.edu | @chrisscargs Comments When Jennifer Meredith walked into a bathroom at Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex, she looked in the mirror and then punched the wall. Meredith had just lost her first set to Michigan’s Rika Tatsuno, 6-4, in the 2010 NCAA tournament’s third round — threatening to erase momentum No. 16 Tennessee had gained.Meredith, then a junior with the Volunteers, calmed herself down and went back to the court revitalized. She stormed past Tatsuno 6-0 in the second set. Even though the match went unfinished because Tennessee’s Rosalía Alda had already clinched, the same intensity that’s followed her to Syracuse a decade later took over.“I went into the bathroom and came out a different player,” Meredith said. “I’ve been known to be a little hot and cold in my life.”Stops at Connecticut and Missouri paved the path that brought Meredith to Syracuse when Shelley George retired last August. In a Feb. 15 match against Boston College, Syracuse’s new assistant coach screamed encouragement and advice at Guzal Yusupova as the Orange’s top singles player erased a 5-1 deficit and clinched the final point. Because of her prior NCAA experience, Meredith’s played a pivotal role in Syracuse’s 6-0 start to the 2020 season, head coach Younes Limam said, as the Orange aim for their fourth NCAA tournament in five years.“You would have to cut off her leg to take her off the court,” said Natalie Pluskota, Meredith’s teammate at Tennessee.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMeredith grew up in Georgia and was ranked as high as the nation’s 17th-best recruit in 2005 by TennisRecruiting.net. She attended the University of Tennessee and over the next four years became known for her scrappiness, her teammate said. A heavy use of low slices, drop shots and high lobs made “her opponents miserable,” Pluskota said.I’m always going to talk to the girls, and be like ‘hey, I think I can still beat you.’ Keep them on their toes a little bit.- Assistant coach Jennifer MeredithAfter graduation, Meredith taught privately on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass; Key Largo, Florida; and Chicago, Illinois. However, the Georgia-native wanted to be with like-minded people who also are passionate about the sport.“I was working at these clubs and I felt like I cared if they got better more than they did,” Meredith said. “I wasn’t sure too much about college coaching and I just loved every aspect of it, of playing something bigger than yourself.”So, she became an assistant coach at UConn in 2014 and helped the Huskies earn their first American Athletic Conference tournament victory in program history. While at UConn, she also recruited the first international commits in program history, a tactic that meshes with Syracuse head coach Limam’s. After Syracuse had zero active international players when Limam took over, six of seven are now from countries outside the United States.Still, Meredith wanted that “bigger conference feel” that UConn didn’t have and left for Missouri after two years with the Huskies.Jordan Smith, then Kansas State’s assistant and associate head coach, remembered Meredith jumping off the bench in joy after Missouri clinched a doubles point against Kansas State, despite it only accounting for one point for the match. Meredith coached Missouri’s former ITA’s No. 10 doubles pairing Amina Ismail and Bea Machado Santos in 2017 and brings that doubles experience to Syracuse — an area it dropped 13 of a possible 23 points last regular season.“(In) assistant coaches coming out you don’t see that … The ones that are bringing that fire,” said Smith. “You get that a lot more in head coaches.”Almost 24 hours before SU’s match against Boston University on Feb. 1, Meredith held a racket behind her back and strolled around Drumlins during team practice. She grabbed Yusupova by the hand, guided her through back swings with her own racket and demonstrated spacing after a few net hits. Then, Meredith let out a booming “Let’s go Z” when freshman Zeynep Erman knocked a backhand winner past senior Miranda Ramirez.Despite being nearly 10 years apart from the players on the team, Meredith jumped into practice volleys and swatted at balls that neared her. She was the only coach with a racket.“I’m always going to talk to the girls, and be like ‘hey, I think I can still beat you,’” Meredith said. “Keep them on their toes a little bit.”center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img