After a lengthy off-season, Vassar’s Women’s Tennis Team has begun their spring season action. The Brewers traveled to West Point, N.Y. last weekend to compete against Division I Army where they fell in their first dual match of the semester, dropping their overall record to 2-1.
They have four matches lined up before their annual spring break trip where they will travel to Southern California to play five matches before returning for the Seven Sisters Championships. Coach Bruce Levine will temporarily take the place of head coach Kathy Campbell who is on sabbatical this semester. Coach Levine is bringing decades of experience to the tennis scene. He sees great potential in the team and is looking forward to another successful season for the team as they come off of a 2-0 winning record in the fall. He has already garnered praise from the team. “I believe we have a great spring in front of us and I am really happy to be coaching such a great team!” says Coach Levine.
Senior captain Lauren Stauffer appreciates what the new coach brings to the team: “He has brought a lot of energy to practice with new drills and conditioning.” Senior captain Kelsey Van Noy added, “I think I speak for everyone on the team when I say how happy we are to have Bruce as a coach this semester. Of course we are missing Kathy (our head coach), but I think Bruce has been a great addition to the team… Bruce has really pushed everyone to work hard on the court and in fitness, and I believe we are going to have a great season.” “He has a lot of confidence in our play and really pushes us mentally and physically to be the best we can be,” said junior Hanna McGuire.
Hoping to bring good momentum heading into their season, the team has already put in a lot of hard practice to prepare for their lengthy season. From here on out, the Brewers will play at least one match a weekend. Fortunately, most of these matches will be at home in the Walker Bays, giving the team a home advantage.
While the team has only one freshman this year, Morgane Flournoy, the roster is filled with experienced veterans. Leading the team are two seasoned seniors, captains Stauffer and Van Noy. Van Noy expressed, “Because this is my last season, I am most excited to play to the sport I love with a team that I have enjoyed being a part of for four years.” Stauffer echoed these sentiments, “I am really looking forward to competing and traveling with the team.” Van Noy finished her 2014-2015 season with a 3-0 singles record. For the current season she has a 7-5 overall singles record and a 5-7 doubles record.
Plenty of sophomores fill the roster. 2014 All-American Kate Christensen currently plays at the No. 1 singles position. Morgan Fitzgerald, another strong sophomore from California currently has a 8-6 overall record. Fitzgerald and Christensen make a formidable doubles team together currently holding a 7-3 record this school year. Courtney Geiss of South Carolina is another talented player with a current 5-6 singles record. Sophomore Dasha Ivenitsky, from New York, finished her 2014-2015 year with an impressive 9-1 singles record.
The team has three juniors, Hanna McGuire, Shayna Becker and Connie Yoo, returning for this season from semesters abroad. Everyone is very excited to have them back on board. Stauffer said, “They [Hanna, Shayna and Connie] are great contributors to the team dynamic.” Shayna Becker finished the fall season with a 7-3 singles record in tournament play. Hanna McGuire finished her 2014-2015 season with a 18-4 doubles record. McGuire said, “I’m just excited to be out here this season after being abroad for the fall. I think we have a young, but very talented team.”
Coach Levine spoke about Yoo, “Connie’s got a great personality, There’s a lot of potential for her. She will definitely be an asset to this program.” The Brewers are excited and eager for the spring program. Everybody is improving and the team is different from the fall both in leadership and in composition. They are looking to bring a very strong force into Liberty Leagues and for everybody to continue their great play and discover their full potential this season.
During competition, the doubles teams occupy the courts first. Therefore, doubles is crucial to starting off the match on a good note. Stauffer spoke about the doubles teams, “Many of our doubles pairings now have had a lot of experience playing together.” This will be a great advantage for the team. McGuire said, “Right now, I’m looking forward to our match against Skidmore and for the strong competition we will face during our spring break trip. I think by that time we will be playing our best tennis.”
Both captains have the same team goal in mind. “Our ultimate goal is to win Liberty Leagues and have a chance to compete at Nationals. However, I also think everyone is looking forward to defending our Seven Sisters title at home in April,” explained Stauffer. Van Noy added, “A more team specific goal would be to build on the successes we had in the fall, both on and off the court. We want to continue grow as a team and remain a strong, inclusive unit so that we can achieve our goals.” Finally, from Coach Levine, “The goal for the team is to live up to our potential and walk off the courts each match having given all we have to give on the day and always keep improving and competing.” The team’s upcoming matches this spring are against Muhlenberg, Rit and St. Lawrence, with their first home game on March 5 against New Paltz. The Brewers will look to defend their ranking of 21 in the nation this season.