Women's Tennis | Four pairs compete at NEWITT tournament
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 02:10
The women’s tennis team closed out its fall season this weekend at the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament (NEWITT). Two of the Jumbos’ three A flight duos reached the round of 16, and the lone B flight duo made the quarterfinals.
In the NEWITT tournament, each individual plays a singles match and a doubles match in a duo, creating a best-of-three format.
Representing Tufts in the Gail Smith A Flight were the pairs of freshman Alexa Meltzer and senior Shelci Bowman in the top position, senior captain Samantha Gann and freshman Chelsea Hayashi at number two and freshmen Conner Calabro and Jacqueline Baum third. Meltzer and Bowman faced Gordon College’s only team in the first round, defeating Caroline Hall and Cindi Flynn 2-1, before bowing out to the Amherst duo of Jen Newman and Zoe Pangalos 3-0 in the round of 16.
Gann and Hayashi blew past Ann Elizabeth Konkel and Eman Malik of Mount Holyoke with a score of 3-0 in the first round, before losing to Melita Ferjanic and Morgan Feldman of Trinity, 3-0. Calabro and Baum suffered a first-round defeat to MIT’s Elysa Kohrs and Victoria Tam, 3-0, but recovered to make it to the semifinals in the consolation draw with wins over Trinity’s Regan Cherna and Senzo Mavune-Maphisa and Babson’s Alex Freeman and Dina Weick.
Tufts had a better showing in the Chris Davis B Flight, as senior Rebecca Kimmel and sophomore Catherine Worley blanked Smith’s Ruth Yi and Andrea Tanco in the first round and then topped Mount Holyoke’s Maya Sayarath and Margaux Holloschutz 2-1 in the round of 16. Ultimately, the duo fell in their quarterfinal match against MIT’s Alana Peters and Ava Soleimany, 2-1.
“I think that we played really well together,” Worley said of her partnership with Kimmel. “She’s a really close friend, and I think I work the best with Becca.”
First-year Irem Bugdayci also competed in her first tournament this season. She was paired with Annika Trapness of Williams College, and the duo won their opening match against Smith’s Seema Samawi and Margaret Anne Smith, 2-1, before being defeated by Simmons’ Theresa Reinhard and Sofie Epshtein.
With the fall season over, the main focus for the Jumbos this offseason will be resting their players, especially in light of the injuries that have plagued the team throughout the fall. Gann has struggled with persistent back problems, Worley has a suspected stress fracture in her foot and both junior Sophie Schonfeld and freshman Hanna Slutsky are recovering from concussions sustained earlier in the season.
“The start of the offseason will be a crucial time for injuries to heal. Continued injury care is the first order of business,” head coach Kate Bayard said. “I’m confident everyone will be ready to go well before the spring season starts.”
Some of the players fought through injuries, knowing that they could use the offseason to recover.
“I know for me personally, I probably should not have played this weekend because of my foot,” Worley said. “My thoughts were, ‘One more weekend and then I can take a break.’ But during the quarterfinals, I had to withdraw from my singles and doubles because I couldn’t move.” The seemingly endless stream of injuries has, ironically, made the team stronger as a result.
“All the injuries really brought us together, because we realized how much we need each other,” Worley said. “It really lets us take a step back to take tennis out of the picture and just be concerned about how we’re all feeling.”
Another focal point for the offseason will be commitment and discipline in captain’s practices.
“I hope that the team will be committed to practicing with a purpose and taking ownership every time they practice,” Bayard said. “If [the team] thinks about how they are getting better each time they step out there, then we’re in good shape.”
In a positive moment for the program, Gann won the Lindsay Morehouse Award over the weekend. The award is given to seniors who demonstrate the qualities of sportsmanship, friendliness, character, fair play and hard work. Coaches nominate a senior for the award and all participating coaches vote for the recipient. Gann beat out six other nominees from different schools.
The Jumbos finished the fall season with a 2-1 dual meet record, losing to MIT and defeating Brandeis and Babson. They will begin their spring schedule on March 18.