The Vassar College Women’s Tennis team has a history of success. The team has finished as conference runners up for the past three seasons, and with a strong fall schedule, the team seeks its 8th Liberty League title this spring. The team has eight returning players from last year but on top of that, boasts five new freshmen players. In terms of returners, the Brewers feature a very strong lineup. Senior Samantha Schapiro is the No. 1 singles and doubles player on the team. She was a First Team All-Liberty League selection last year in both singles and doubles. She also was an All-American in doubles in 2013. Fellow senior Ava Sadeghi was away from the team last year; however, Sadeghi was one of the top performers during the 2012-2013 season. She was All-American with Schapiro as well that year and played in the Brewers No.1 spot, finishing 22-9. The No. 2 Doubles group of junior Winnie Yeates and sophomore Emily Hallewell were 10-3 last year and were Second Team All-Liberty League selections. Both also garnered individual league honors. Sophomore Shayna Becker was also a First Team All-Liberty League Doubles selection last year. Her and Schapiro were ranked No.8 regionally as a doubles pair. The team also features sophomore Connie Yoo and junior Kelsey Van Noy who ended their seasons tied for the longest win streak on the team as they both won their last four matches.
Moving on to the new players, this year’s recruiting class was ranked No. 12 in the nation at the start of the season. Freshman Kate Christensen was ranked 136th in the nation by tennisrecruiting.net. She is the first four-star recruit to attend a Liberty League school since 2007. She is also the first four-star recruit at Vassar since three-time All-American Nicole Ponte ’10. The class also features a pair of two-star recruits in Courtney Geiss and Morgan Fitzgerald. Freshmen Daria Ivenitsky and Lauren Difazio round out the class for the Brewers. Sadeghi has been impressed with the new recruits so far, as she explained in an emailed statement to the Miscellany: “The team this year is very strong, there are five new players all with different strengths, making our team even more talented than it has been in the past.”
The Brewers have already begun their season with great success. Their first tournament was an Invitational hosted by Williams College on Sept. 13. The first day of the tournament was held indoors due to rain. The Brewers were 13-14 during two full rounds of singles and one of doubles. The doubles teams of Hallewell and Yeates along with Geiss and her partner sophomore Hanna McGuire earned victories. Yoo was 2-0 in singles play. The Morehouse Invitational continued the next day and the Brewers saw even more success than the first. McGuire and Geiss were undefeated in doubles, going 3-0 on the day. Schapiro and Sadeghi paired together for a 2-1 record as did Yeates and Hallewell. Christensen and Becker played together and managed to overcome a 0-3 deficit and defeat a Skidmore pair 8-4. In singles play Ivenitsky and Yoo both finished with 2-1 records.
The Brewers’ success was not unnoticed as they swept the Liberty League Performers of the Week selections. Schapiro was the singles performer of the week. She was 1-1 after defeating Skidmore’s Maddie Benn. Schapiro and Sadeghi were the Doubles Team of the Week after going 2-1, both wins over Skidmore pairs. This was the fourth career section for Schapiro and the sixth for Sadeghi since the 2012-2013 season. Geiss was the Rookie of the Week after being undefeated in doubles play and going 1-2 in singles play.
According to Sadeghi, the team has been using this time to try and come together and acclimate everyone, including the newcomers. “[My favorite] moment [so far has been] making up nicknames for the new players and seeing how they react to them while they are playing.” She also cites team dynamic as one of the reasons the team has been so successful already. “We all get along. It has been very easy to integrate the freshman into the team because they are all so great!”
This past weekend, the team hosted The Vassar Scramble Tournament. The first day the Brewers swept all their doubles matches and dropped only two singles matches overall with an overall record of 21-2. After the first round of singles play, Vassar was 9-1, finishing 5-1 against NYU and 4-0 against Connecticut College. They were 8-1 after round two, going 4-1 against NYU and defeating Connecticut College 4-0 once more. Moving on to doubles play, the Brewers were undefeated. Yoo and Difazio earned their first victory as a pair this season after defeating an NYU team 8-2. Christensen and Becker also defeated an NYU pair 8-1, while Ivenitsky and Geiss topped a Connecticut College squad 8-3. Yeates and Hallewell had the closest victory, topping Connecticut College’s Adrieene Sieverding and Aleksandra Drijaca 8-6.
The Second Day of the Scramble continued a dominant doubles game for the Brewers. The Brewers went 17-2 for an overall 38-4 record for the event. They maintained their undefeated streak going 14-0 in doubles and seven different players were undefeated between singles and doubles all weekend.
Head Coach Kath Campbell was incredibly happy with her team’s performance this weekend, as she explained in a statement to Vassarathletics.com. “We continued to build on our doubles effectiveness…that was our main focus in practice this week. Our doubles are becoming more aggressive and more consistent. Our team depth and strength was evident…I am proud of our team for their high level of fitness, their determined play, and for their support of one another.”
The team will next compete in the ITA Northeast Regionals hosted by William Smith College from September 27-29.