Women's Tennis | Team chemistry high as six of seven Jumbos return
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 07:09
The women’s tennis team ended last season on a sour note, dropping a match to Williams in the third-round of the NCAA Championship. After a summer-long hiatus, the Jumbos finally return to the court this weekend with a chance to start fresh after last year’s bitter finish. Tufts will take on MIT and Brandeis at home in the season opener.
While many questions surround any team’s fate entering a new season, the Jumbos are certain of one thing: They do not lack experience or depth. Five of their seven players are upperclassmen, including senior co-captains Lindsay Katz and Janice Lam.
“The team chemistry this year is better than ever,” Katz said. “Six of the seven players are returning, so we feel like we are basically picking up from where we left off at the end of the spring last year, when we felt like we were reaching our peak.”
The one newbie is freshman recruit Catherine Worley, whose positive attitude and youthful spirit has already helped to boost the team morale.
“We already feel so close with Catherine and could not have found a more perfect fit,” Lam said. “Not only is she a super hard worker who shows up to practice every day giving 100 percent, but she brings such a great positive attitude and energy to the team.”
“She is the best addition to the team that we could have ever hoped for,” added junior Samantha Gann. “Aside from being a great player, her energy and enthusiasm is so uplifting, and we’re so happy she’s part of the team.”
For the eighth straight season, the Jumbos will be led by head coach Kate Bayard, who has posted a stellar 84-53 record during her tenure at Tufts. Bayard has been named the NESCAC coach of the year in 2009 and 2011, as well as the USTA coach of the year in 2010. Most importantly, with Bayard at the helm, the Jumbos have advanced into the national spotlight.
“I think I speak for the whole team when I say that coach Bayard is one of the best coaches out there,” Gann said. “Her knowledge of the sport is incredible, and I learn so much from her everyday. Her dedication to the team is so clear, and she has been like a mother to each team member throughout our Tufts experiences.”
During her time at Tufts, Bayard has had three players win national championships and 10 individual All-Americans. Perhaps most notably of all, the Jumbos have never failed to qualify for the NCAA team championships under Bayard’s watch.
While the lineups for this weekend’s matches have yet to be determined, the girls agree that their focus should be on their play alone.
“We don’t know too much about the lineup for this week’s matches yet, but it works better for everyone that way,” Gann said. “We all work as hard as we can at practice, and when the match approaches, we all know that our coaches will put together the lineup that they feel puts us in the best position to win the match.”
With a roster of only seven girls it is vital that every player remains ready to step up and contribute when their name is called.
“With such a small roster, we definitely get more personal attention,” Katz said. “And it’s nice because everyone knows they play a role in the team’s success.”
After the two opening matches at Tufts this weekend, the Jumbos will travel to MIT the following weekend for the annual ITA Regional Championships.
“I am looking forward to how strong our team is going to get,” Lam said. “At the end of last season, I felt like we were the strongest and most close-knit team in the NESCAC, and I am so excited to get to pick up where we left off last season and just build from there.”