After finishing last spring with a record of 19-6 and a ranking of fourth in the nation, women’s tennis is confidently gearing up for its spring season. The team has demonstrated steady improvement over the last few years, finishing fourth in NCAAs last year, coming in the top eight the year before, and in the top 16 in 2005.
The Ephs enter the spring coming off of a successful fall campaign, during which they went 3-1. Their sole loss came in a contest against Amherst, in which Williams was not able to win a doubles match.
The highlight of the Ephs’ fall, the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament, ended with three players – Grace Baljon ’10, Lucy Marchese ’11 and Ashley Parsons ’10 – bringing home singles titles. Marchese and Nikki Reich ’11 then went on to claim the doubles crown. Top singles player Cary Gibson ’09 also captured the ITA Northeast Title.
In order to monopolize on the talents of the team demonstrated in the NEWITT, the spring lineup will undergo slight changes. “Marchese and Reich will start at three doubles to continue their strong play from the end of the fall season,” Head Coach Alison Swain said.
The All-American duo of Gibson and Anne Schneidman ’08, ranked fifth nationally, as well as Allie Rottkamp ’08 and Baljon (whose record last year was 21-4) will also play doubles for the women.
In singles, the lineup will consist of Gibson at one, Baljon at two, Marchese at three, Reich at four, Parsons at five and Schneidman at six.
“In singles, we have a lot of depth and the top of our lineup is as strong as it has ever been,” Swain said. “Truly, I am lucky to be creating the singles lineup with the girls we have.”
The women begin the spring season with hopes for a Little Three and conference title. They will begin the season out west, traveling to California and Texas over spring break.
“My hope for spring break is that we start to build confidence, become more match tough, and work through our match play so that we can come into our NESCAC schedule with a lot of momentum,” Swain said.
“Seeing improvement in our play over spring break will be key as our first dual match back East is against Amherst followed a few days later by Middlebury.”
Of course, if the women perform well at the NESCACs they hope to go on to make their 14th consecutive appearance at the NCAA championships later this season. Swain anticipates her team doing just that.“We are extremely talented and with a lot of hard work, health and determination we are capable of playing deep into the NCAA championships,” she said.
The spring season officially begins when the Ephs travel to San Diego, Calif. on March 19 to match up against Point Loma University. After a few more West Coast matches the team will begin New England play against Amherst on April 5.