Spring break wins propel tennis team to top rankings

Lindsay Kantor ‘14 executes a powerful forhand for the Vassar women’s tennis team. After a victorious trip to California over Spring Break, the team hopes thie momentum will lead to Liberty League play. Photo By: Vassar Athletics
Lindsay Kantor ‘14 executes a powerful forhand for the Vassar women’s tennis team. After a victorious trip to California over Spring Break, the team hopes thie momentum will lead to Liberty League play. Photo By: Vassar Athletics
Lindsay Kantor ‘14 executes a powerful forhand for the Vassar women’s tennis team. After a victorious
trip to California over Spring Break, the team hopes thie momentum will lead to Liberty League play. Photo By: Vassar Athletics

While taking a break from the snowy and long-lasting winter, the Vassar women’s tennis team began their spring season with crucial wins. Out of over 300 Division III colleges, Vassar has remained in the top 20, as published in the most recent ITA rankings. The Brewers currently stand in 20th place according the poll, a one place drop from where they last stood. Despite this slight drop, they remain 7th regionally compared to the 110 teams in the northeast.

The team has seen great success since the fall, currently holding a 5-2 record after their most recent Spring Break trip to California, where they faced five other collegiate teams. The team’s three wins were decisive, with the first coming against Occidental College on March 10, with a score of 9-0. Senior Captain Natalie Santiago won two sets, 6-0 and 6-1, giving up only one game to her opponent. In the No. 3 doubles spot, junior Lindsay Kantor and freshman Kelsey Van Noy swept their opponents.

The team then lost 0-9 to the #8 nationally ranked Bowdoin College despite a stellar performance from Van Noy who almost won the second set of her match.

The team then had their first loss of the 2013 season to #10 nationally ranked Pomona-Pitzer College, with a score of 3-6. Both Sophomores Ava Sadeghi and Samantha Schapiro at the Number 1 and 2 spots in singles and in doubles as well. Sadeghi recalls this as a particularly tough match that stood out in her mind in the season thus far. “It was a tight 3 set match against a friend. It is always hard to play a friend and I had to just put that aside and play my game.”

Several days later the Brewers went on to defeat Caltech and University of La Verne, both 8-1.

Sadeghi won her singles matches both days, and took two doubles wins in the number one spot with teammate Schapiro. Freshman Winifred Yeates defeated her Caltech opponent in a perfect match, winning in two sets, 6-0, 6-0. La Verne in particular was a strong win for the team. Sadeghi was incredibly proud of the resolve her team displayed. “Almost all the matches were tight three set matches and we pulled all of them out.”

This year’s team is young, with only one senior, Captain Natalie Santiago as well as only one Junior Lindsay Kantor. But despite the youth, the Brewer’s have proven themselves a force to be reckoned with already. Head Coach Kathy Campbell has been pleased with their performance so far especially during their spring trip. “This young team found out more about their strong character and competitive abilities. It was inspiring to see them respond in such a mature manner.”

Sadeghi agrees with her head coach’s feelings on the strengths of her young team. “I thought our team played really well especially against the high ranked, tougher teams. Our team played with a lot of maturity and poise despite our youth. [We’ve] performed very well and there is fight and motivation in every player. Our team has really stepped it up in tight matches. I individually have also used the motivation and energy of the other players to motivate myself and step up my game in tight matches.”

Several freshman have also been key performers so far this season. All three freshman in top spots have had significant playing time and have helped the Brewers serve out wins. Freshman Lauren Stauffer along with fellow freshman Winifred Yeates defeated opponents Catherine Anderson and Lucy Malloch in the Number 2 doubles spot at Occidental College. Stauffer also picked up a singles win against Malloch at the Number 4 spot. The third freshman on the team, Kelsey Van Noy, had an almost perfect win against Caltech’s Michelle Lee where she went 6-1, 6-2. Sadeghi also won 6-1, 6-2 against Caltech’s Monica Li during that same match.

Having such a young team is not necessarily a bad thing, according to Sadeghi who sees it as a positive.“The team is very young and new, which leaves a lot of room for growth. It will allow people to bond more and hopefully we will become stronger mentally and physically as a team.

Last year’s team had a highly successful run at Nationals; however, they’re ready to repeat it and go even further. This year’s team hopes to continue improving more and more according to Sadeghi and build on their past success. “[Our} goals are just to continue improving and to get further at nationals then we did last year.”

The Brewers will be continuing play at home this upcoming Saturday March 30 at 12 PM. They hope to continue their winning streak as they enter into Liberty League play against Skidmore College. With this year’s mix of talent, determination, and strong youth the Brewers continue to have high hopes and lofty goals for the remainder of their season.

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