Women's Tennis | Tufts finishes season with mild success
Published: Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 01:10
The No. 5 Tufts women's tennis team concluded its fall season this weekend at the three−day New England Women's Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament, which featured players from 17 schools throughout the Northeast.
The Jumbos' No. 3 doubles pair of senior Nathalie Schils and sophomore Rebecca Kimmel performed well for the Jumbos, as the pair advanced to the semifinal round of the B flight. Meanwhile, Tufts' No. 1 doubles team of junior captain Lindsay Katz and sophomore Shelci Bowman reached the quarterfinals in the A flight.
The tournament was formatted differently from usual, as paired doubles teams competed against each other in three matches — two singles and one doubles. The first doubles team to win two out of three matches moved on to the next round.
To begin tournament play, Schils and Kimmel faced Babson's No. 4 team of junior Victoria Lorido and freshman Courtney Fischer. The Jumbos won the matchup 2−1, with wins in the doubles match and Kimmel's single match. Later, the duo shut out Wheaton's third team, 3−0, in order to advance to the quarterfinals.
There, Tufts lost to Trinity's No. 3 doubles team, but both Schils and Kimmel won their singles matches to march past the Bantams, 2−1. In the following round, however, the Tufts pair was eliminated from the tournament when they lost 3−0 to No. 2 Williams' fourth−ranked team of freshman Monica Pastor and sophomore Lindsay Thygesen.
"We both played really well. It was our first time playing doubles together," Schils said. "It was exciting that as the tournament progressed, we really got to know each other's styles of play better. After our first match we were playing a lot better together."
Katz and Bowman beat Middlebury's third−ranked team 2−1, followed by another 2−1 victory over MIT's second−ranked team in the round of 16.
A rainstorm forced the pair's next match against Middlebury indoors and shortened the contest. Despite the changes, however, Katz and Bowman won their doubles match 8−5. In singles play, Katz won her match 8−4 to clinch the Tufts victory.
Katz was very successful in her next singles match against MIT as well, winning both sets at love. Bowman, however, lost in a close three−set match. In doubles, they beat the MIT pair of freshman Michelle Dutt and senior Anastasia Vishnevetsky, 8−1, in order to advance to the next round.
In the quarterfinals, the Jumbos' top team fell 3−0 to No. 1 Amherst's top−ranked team, which ended up winning the tournament without losing a match.
Sophomore Jordan Brewer and senior Laura Danzig won the ITA New England Tennis Tournament in the beginning of October, and the pair remains the top doubles grouping in Div. III women's tennis.
"[Bowman and I] have been playing pretty well together, so we wanted to give it everything we had. Overall, we played great doubles," Katz said. "I definitely think I improved in my singles throughout the tournament. It was a great way to end this leg of the season."
Junior Lauren Hollender and sophomore Samantha Gann were Tufts' No. 2 pair this weekend. They beat Amherst's third pair 3−0 but fell to Williams' third team 2−1 in the next round.
The pair won their doubles match, 9−7, but they dropped both singles matches.
Hollender fell 6−4, 6−1 to Ephs senior Caroline Capute. Gann battled it out against Ephs senior Taylor French to force the match into a decisive tiebreaker, but French prevailed, winning 10−7 to eliminate the Tufts pair from the tournament.
With the tournament marking the end of the fall campaign, the team moves into the offseason ready to prepare for a tough spring in which they will face top teams including No. 3 Emory and No. 8 Washington and Lee, as well as, of course, their NESCAC rivals Amherst and Williams — currently the top two teams in the nation. The team is relatively happy with their performances this fall but hopes to improve before the spring.
"Overall the fall season went fine. Generally people were happy, but we know what we want to work on in the off−season," Katz said. "Everyone knows where their weaknesses are. Specifically [Bowman and I] need to work on reaction time in our doubles play. When we were playing Amherst, they were hitting balls at us a lot faster and harder than we are generally used to, so the problem was that when they hit the volleys at us, we were just reacting instead of actively placing the volleys in a specific place. We were reacting just in time to make it back, but we weren't setting up the points."
The team's two freshmen, Sophie Schonfeld and Sarafina Nance, as well as sophomore Eliza Flynn, have been injured the entire fall season, but all three plan to play in the spring, which will help to revitalize the team.
"The fall season is always an interesting time with the new freshmen coming in. Since they were injured this year … I'm really excited for the spring to see them on the courts. And with Eliza back in the lineup, we're definitely going to be stronger in the spring,"
Schils said. "One of the things our team does particularly well, which not all the NESCAC teams do, is take advantage of the time we have off. We're lifting, practicing a lot and running sprints. We come out for spring break in great shape and ready to compete."