Tennis finds success in Scramble, takes three

Senior women’s tennis player Courtney Geiss sets her aim on a ace over the weekend in a match during the Vassar Scramble. Geiss returns to the court after a full year abroad. / Courtesy of Carlisle Stockton

The Vassar Women’s tennis team hosted three opponents this past weekend on the Josselyn tennis courts in the Vassar Scramble. The Brewers matched up against Connecticut College, New York University and New Paltz on Saturday and Sunday.

Despite having several players out of play due to illness, including seniors Dasha Ivenitsky and Kate Christensen, as well as sophomore Ashley Fair and first-year Frances Cornwall, the Brewers put together a great weekend. “I think we did really well as a team of staying focused and playing hard even though we were battling some injuries and sicknesses,” sophomore Tara Edwards mentioned in an interview with Vassar Athletics communications after her match.

Sophomore Vista Grinde attributes the team’s success over the weekend to their hard work during practice. “Our areas of focus in practice lately have been lots of match play and fitness work, which has translated well into our matches. Many of us have had long matches which we have been ready for from all of our experience in practices,” said Grinde.

The Brewers kicked off the day with a singles win. First-year Meghan Rodick knocked off Stephanie Simon of Connecticut College in a 6-1, 6-2 victory. Edwards won her first match of the day 6-3, 6-2, but ended up losing in a close three set match 3-6, 6-3, 10-5 to her NYU opponent.

Senior Courtney Geiss fell short in her first match of the day but rebounded and pulled together a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Mariah Warren from Connecticut College. Grinde also lost her first match of the day but bounced back and came out with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Meredith Kenny of Connecticut College.

First-year Sarra Yekta lost her opening set of the day 2-6, but came back and won the second set 6-2 and finished off the third set in an exciting 10-5 victory.

Grinde commented on the team’s comeback wins. “In tennis you really need to learn to adapt to your opponent and constantly need to change your strategy, so sometimes it may take you a while to figure out how to beat your opponent, which is why some of us came back from behind,” said Grinde. “Personally both of the matches I came back from being behind in were my third matches of the day, so I think I just started out playing tired, but as I kept playing and getting more invested in the match my desire to win grew stronger, which was why I was able to come up with the win.”

Yekta went on to win her second match of the day in a similar exciting fashion, with a 6-2 win in the first set and a 7-6 win in the second set with a tiebreak score of 7-5. First-year Rachael Hahn went 1-1 on the day. After dropping her first match she rebounded to win her second match in a close three sets, 5-7, 6-4 and 10-8.

In doubles play, Geiss and Rodick teamed up to knock off Connecticut College’s Warren and Aleksandra Drjaca with a score of 8-3. Grinde picked up another win for the day after partnering with senior Lauren Difazio and defeating their Connecticut College opponents.

On Sunday, the Brewers were up bright and early to start their second day of the Scramble. The first-years pulled through for the Brewers, with Hahn and Rodick both starting off the day with wins. Edwards picked up another win for the Brewers on the first court as she took down Stephanie Simon from Connecticut College 6-2, 6-0. On court six, Difazio fought hard but ultimately fell to Anandini Chawla of NYU 4-6, 3-6.

On the doubles end of the match, Edwards and Rodick paired up to take down their Connecticut College adversaries 8-1, while Yekta and Grinde secured an 8-2 victory. Unfortunately for the Brewers, Hahn and Geiss lost a tough match against Connecticut College 8-4.

Edwards and Yekta faced up against New Paltz, where they asserted their dominance. The duo did not drop a game, walking away with an 8-0 win. This pair has been working well together this season, with this victory securing their third doubles win of the season.

The Brewers weekend ended on a high note, with Grinde and Geiss powering back from a 3-4 deficit to produce a thrilling 8-5 win over  Connecticut College.

With such a tough schedule, it is impressive how well the Brewers were able to maintain their intensity throughout the weekend. Ed- wards, who has won three matches at the singles position and has won five of six matches at the doubles position, had a successful weekend for the tennis team. She attributes the team’s ability not to lose steam to its supportive nature.“Our teammates do a good job of keeping us up and supporting us, so that really helps us get through our long matches,” said Edwards.

This positive dynamic that kept the team motivated through the weekend is something Coach Kathy Campbell has been pleased with throughout the first few matches of the fall season. In addition to the unyielding support across the team, Campbell also mentioned how much progress everyone on the team has made thus far. “All eleven team members have demonstrated ongoing improvement and competitiveness on the court,” Campbell noted.

As far as what the Brewers will be focusing on heading into the next few weeks, Campbell wants the team to emphasize improving the team’s ability to play “pressure points, such as getting to the net more often, footwork on volleys and spin on second serves.”

The Brewers travel up to Saratoga Springs for ITA Northeast Regionals next weekend. Ed- wards believes the Vassar Scramble was a good way for the team to get some exposure before such an important tournament. Edwards said, “I think it lets us see a lot of different people, different games that we’ll see at ITA’s.”

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