A strong season for the Vassar women’s tennis team came to an end on Monday, April 28, as the Brewers lost the Liberty League championship match to Skidmore College 1-5. This has been the fourth year in a row that Vassar has lost to Skidmore in the finals since the Brewers last won in 2010.
This year, the tennis team boasted an overall record of 13-6 and a Liberty League record of 4-1. This successful record is made all the more meaningful since this roster was so young. According to Head Coach Kathy Campbell, “The team’s improvement in terms of fitness, mental toughness, shot selection, confidence, match play in singles and doubles, etc. from the beginning of the fall season is remarkable (college tennis competes in the fall and spring seasons).”
For the past two decades, Vassar and Skidmore have been trading blows in Liberty League standings. Since 1996, Skidmore has won ten Liberty League titles, while Vassar won eight consecutive years from 2003 to 2010.
Going into this year’s tournament, Vassar was the two-seed and a clash in the finals with rival Skidmore, who was the tournament one-seed and was ranked nationally at fourteen. The Brewers cruised through the quarterfinals and semifinals over the weekend. In the quarterfinals, Vassar took on seventh-seeded RIT. Vassar swept in doubles with strong performances all around. The number three doubles pair of sophomores Kelsey Van Noy and Lauren Stauffer routed their opponents in an 8-1 victory. At number two, freshman Emily Hallewell and sophomore Winnie Yeates beat their opponents 8-5. Freshman Shayna Becker and junior Samantha Schapiro defeated their opponents 8-5 as well. In singles, Stauffer claimed the first victory by shutting out her opponent 6-0, 6-0. Senior captain Lindsay Kantor clinched the victory with a 6-2, 6-1 win.
On Sunday, Vassar played third-seeded St. Lawrence University who was also the tournament host. Vassar went 2-1 in doubles play as Stauffer and Van Noy won at number three 8-3. Hallewell and Yeates got the tight victory at number two doubles winning the set 9-8 (7-1). The championship match on Monday against Skidmore was a tough loss for the team. The Brewers went 1-2 in doubles although one of the losses was very close. Stauffer and Van Noy dropped their set 2-8 at number three doubles. At number two doubles, Hallewell and Yeates won 8-5. Schapiro and Becker fought hard, but ended up losing their number one doubles match 5-8. Singles did not go well for the Brewers, who lost three of the matches and did not finish the other two since Skidmore had already clinched the victory. Skidmore, who has been the Liberty League champion for the past four years in a row, will now move on to the NCAA tournament.
“Next Monday, we will hear whether we earn a bid to the NCAA Championship among other top national teams that finished high, but did not win the conference title,” explained Campbell. “The program has a rich history of being recognized as a top D. III team qualifying for the NCAA’s nine times since 2003 and eleven times overall and earning national rankings each year since 2001. Continuing to earn a national ranking as we did this year is quite an achievement with such a young team and is a credit to the hard work of this year’s team members.”