Beginning in 1983, Vassar, Barnard, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Smith and Mt Holyoke Colleges all squared off in the first annual Seven Sisters’ Tournament; however, the seven sisters have been whittled down to five, as Radcliffe and Barnard have left the loose consortium of historically women’s colleges. The tournament remains round-robin, with each team going head to head in an abbreviated dual match format: two doubles teams and three singles players from each team compete against each other. The Brewer women came out on top at the end of the weekend, claiming their second trophy in as many years, defeating Wellesley 4-1. Vassar Women’s Tennis extended not just their run as Seven Sisters champion, but also their undefeated streak at the tournament; they hold an 8-0 record going back to last year’s tournament. The matchup that determined the winner wasn’t a new one, as Vassar and Wellesley have gone back and forth as Seven Sisters champions since 1999.
Vassar was in no way troubled through the first day of matches. The Brewer women posted emphatic back-to-back 5-0 victories over Bryn Mawr and Smith Colleges to kick their weekend off. Against Bryn Mawr, Vassar dominated on all courts, surrendering a total of seven games in all five matches. Sophomores Courtney Geiss and Dasha Ivenitsky won at No. 1 and No. 2 in singles, 6-1 6-2 and 6-1 6-0 respectively, while junior Connie Yoo made it three-for-three in singles, winning 6-1 6-1. In doubles juniors Hanna McGuire and Shayna Becker came away with a win at No. 1 doubles, and senior Kelsey Van Noy and freshman Morgane Flournoy won at No. 2 doubles. The results against Smith were much the same, as Vassar rolled through singles with wins from a trio of sophomores: Kate Christensen at No. 1, Geiss at No. 2 and Morgan Fitzgerald at No. 3. Doubles proved wholly one-sided as well, with the teams of McGuire-Becker and Ivenitsky-Yoo both double bageling Smith.
The second day provided a higher level of difficulty for the Brewers, but they proved up to the task. Vassar saw off Mt Holyoke 4-1, behind a strong win from Christensen at No. 1, solid doubles from the teams of McGuire-Becker and Van Noy-Flournoy, Yoo was dominant in her performance at No. 3 singles as well. Fitzgerald, who lost a nail-biting 7-5 6-7(1) 8-10 match at No. 2 singles against Mt Holyoke, rebounded quickly to win 6-1 6-3 over Wellesley at No. 3 Singles, clinching both the match and the tournament victory for Vassar.
Naturally, the Brewers, coming off a huge home win against Liberty League rival Skidmore were pleased with their performance as a team while hosting Seven Sisters. “This year we played exceptionally well, everyone fought hard in each match and we took it to Wellesley, which was the overall goal. We used the momentum we gained after…Skidmore to win this tournament,” expressed junior Hanna McGuire [full disclosure, Hanna McGuire is a guest reporter for the Miscellany News]. The takeaway from Seven Sisters for the women’s team seems to be that hard work does pay off and lead to more wins. “After training very hard throughout the season, it was nice to see everyone bring their ‘A’ game to the matches. I am proud of how hard everyone fought for each point,” commented Stauffer, playing her last season for Vassar College. For Stauffer and Van Noy, winning the tournament as host can bring a margin of closure, having been a part of the Vassar team that hosted Seven Sisters three seasons ago and saw Wellesley take home the trophy.
Kate Christensen, who didn’t drop a set en route to a weekend of undefeated tennis on the courts of Walker Field House, was named to the All-Seven Sisters Team in singles. Vassar had two more all-tournament recognitions in doubles, with the McGuire-Becker and Van Noy-Flournoy tandems also making it onto the All-Seven Sisters roll for their similarly successful performances over the course of the weekend. The members of the Vassar women’s tennis team clearly established themselves not only as the class of the tournament, but also as one of the deeper teams, with every player picking up at least one win over the weekend.
One aspect of Seven Sisters that separates it from other tournaments is the banquet that takes place after the first day of matches. The aim of the banquet is twofold, to promote a sense of togetherness and shared history and provide an opportunity for the teams to mingle, things which run counter to the atmosphere of almost all collegiate dual matches. “I enjoy meeting the other teams on and off the court … It was especially fun to host the tournament this year and to showcase our facility and campus,” reflected senior and captain Lauren Stauffer. “[The] teams were super friendly and had great sportsmanship. [E]veryone…had a great time meeting [the] other girls,” further assessed sophomore Dasha Ivenitsky. The banquet also gives the captains of each team the chance to recognize their teammates with gifts. For Vassar, captain Van Noy gave out letters to each of her teammates, while Stauffer gifted stuffed animals to represent the personalities of all the women on the team, as well as what they contribute. “The captains’ presentations of gifts…was a fun way to show how valued and appreciated each team member is,” expressed Becker.
Women’s tennis will play host to more challenging competition this weekend as they host the Engineers of MIT at Walker, which they welcome. “[W]e’re looking forward to MIT, another tough competitor. Hopefully we’ll be able to challenge them as well,” commented McGuire. The Brewer women currently hold an 11-6 overall match record and will look to keep their momentum going into the final stretch of the season and Liberty Leagues.