Women’s tennis gears up for sixth consecutive title run

After winning a record fifth consecutive Div. III NCAA title last May and finishing the fall season 1-1 in dual matches, women’s tennis enters its spring season ranked second in the nation behind Amherst and is looking forward to more success. Other NESCAC foes ranked in the top 30 include Middlebury at sixth, Bowdoin at ninth, Tufts at 14th, Trinity at 20th and Bates at 28th.

Having lost former tri-captains Kristin Alotta ’12, Taylor French ’12 and Caroline Capute ’12 to graduation, the team will look to its other members to fill in their spots. Alotta was an All-American last year and was named the 2012 ITA National Senior Player of the Year, playing No. 1 singles and No. 2 doubles. Capute played No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles and was a starter for the team. French was a strong doubles player for the team.

Despite the loss of these three key players, the team is still incredibly strong, with three players, Kathleen Elkins ’14, co-captain Nancy Worley ’13 and Kara Shoemaker ’14, ranked in the top 50 singles players in the country. The team will rely on their two senior captains, Worley and Veranika Li ’13 to lead them to another successful season. Li has won every match she has played at Williams, with 15 singles and 10 doubles victories.

Shoemaker is returning to the team after an explosive 2011-12 season for which she was awarded an All-American title. She finished last year ranked No. 2 in singles and playing No. 1 doubles alongside French. Elkins is also coming off a successful season, having played No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles, and will be looking to repeat her accomplishments now that she has returned from studying abroad this fall.

The sophomore class, consisting of Monica Pastor ’15, Maria Pylypiv ’15 and Rebecca Curran ’15, is looking to build and improve on their successful rookie season. Pastor won the ‘B’ Flight at the New England Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament (NEWITT) and had a victorious doubles record. Pylypiv played at the No. 6 spot at Div. III NCAA Championships last spring and was part of a doubles team this fall that made it to the semifinal round of NEWITTs. Curran played at the No. 5 spot last year in singles and No. 3 in doubles. She ended her fall season with a third-place finish at the National Small College Championships in addition to winning the ITA New England Regional Tournament.

This year’s rookie class is looking to bring intensity to the team and have proven themselves up for the challenge already in the fall season. Riqui McCoy ’16 partnered with Pylypiv in the doubles team that made a successful run in NEWITTs. Other first-years looking to prove themselves in the spring are Maya Hart ’16 and Alex Stone ’16.

Head Coach Alison Swain ’01 is excited for the upcoming season and knows that her players will push themselves to play their absolute best. “The players on our team put a lot of pressure on themselves to continue the legacy of competitive excellence that the women’s tennis program has had over the last decade,” Swain said. “The team does a good job of looking at each year as a new year with new challenges and opportunities. At the end of the day, it’s not about living up to external pressures or expectations, but working hard, competing with heart and enjoying the process of improving.”

The women begin their spring season this weekend. They will travel to Skidmore for a 1 p.m. match on Saturday. They follow that up with another away match on Sunday at Wesleyan at 1 p.m.