The tennis team began its inaugural season in Spring 2009. Led by Head Coach Serge Nalywayko and Assistant Coach Dennis Anderson, the CIA Steels finished the regular season with a 4-1 record, good for second place out of the six conference tennis teams. The team traveled to the United States Tennis Center in New York City (site of the U.S. Open) to compete in the conference tournament in May, finishing in fifth place.
Coach Nalywayko was encouraged by the results. “It was a nice start to the program for us, with many students interested and trying out for the team,” he says. “Of our final group of 13 selected, we had some tremendous tennis talent and it showed during the regular season matches. We hope to improve our focus for the conference tournament in 2010.”
The 2010 CIA team again finished their regular season with a strong 4-1 conference match mark, with four of the players returning from the 2009 squad. The conference tournament, held again at the USTA Tennis Center, brought a fourth place finish.
The 2011 season brought enthusiasm and the hopes for continued development of the tennis program, and the team delivered in both the regular season and conference tournament. The Steels finished with an overall 4-2 regular season record (3-2 within the conference) which was good enough for a tie for the second best record within the HVMAC. The end of season tournament brought a stellar performance by the team, finishing in second place behind the perennial conference powerhouse Cooper Union. The CIA advanced very well through the nine, individual tournament flights reaching the finals in six flights (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th singles; 1st doubles and winning the flight championship in 3rd doubles).
In 2012, the CIA tennis team won its first regular-season conference championship! While the college’s 4-1 conference record was good for a three-way tie with Cooper Union and Pratt Institute, the CIA claimed the title on a tiebreaker, having lost fewer individual flight matches against the other two schools. The conference tournament on May 5—played once again at the site of the U.S. Open in Flushing, NY—resulted in a runner-up finish for the third time in the program’s short history. The CIA’s first doubles team (Kevin Bender and Pierre Mewissen) captured that flight’s championship!
2013 was a challenging year, with many new players joining the team. But the Steels persevered, finishing the regular season with a 4-3 dual match record and tying for second place at the conference championship tournament. 2014 saw the team repeat its regular season record (4-3) as well as secure a second place finish in the postseason tournament.
The 2015 team finished with another strong record—5-3 overall and 4-1 in the conference, good for second place. At the HVIAC Championship held in May, the team finished in second place for the fifth straight year. The Steels produced three flight champions led by Jeremy Sawyer at No. 2 singles, Johghee Lee at No. 3 singles, and Zachary Bryant at No. 6 singles.
The 2016 season brought both a regular season and postseason tournament championship! The Steels went undefeated in conference play, and then defeated defending champion Berkeley College in the dual match finals by a score of 5-4. The CIA’s Cassidy Seo was named Co-Rookie of the Year for the conference.