Feeling the LOVE but looking for more
The men's and women's tennis teams competed in championship bracket type play this past weekend. Although the results of the matches might look somewhat discouraging on paper, Coach Doanh Wang is confident in his team. Speaking about his team, especially the first-years, Wang said, "I hope that they all took something positive away from the events. Something that they can incorporate into the development of their game." Captain Bobby Post '11 although discouraged by the weekend's events agreed with coach Wang when he said, "As a whole, I think a lot of us underperformed but gained valuable experience and learned just how good everyone in the [New England Small College Athletic Conference] is...I think we all fought hard and made sure to, at the very least, walk off the court having learned something this weekend."
When asked about the outlook for the season, Wang said, "Winning is on every coach's mind," however, he continued, "I believe, also, that every coach sees success as more than winning. At least for me, success in a program has other very important qualities." The effort put forth thus far by the Colby tennis team undoubtedly proves that there is fire in every team member's eyes, and hearts, and possessing that fire is without a doubt an essential component of the fight.
The women's tennis team spent the weekend at the Division III Wilson/ITA Women's New England Region Championships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the opening round of the singles championship bracket, Katie Muto '11 fell 6-0, 6-1 to Kristin Alotta of Williams College, and she made an awe inspiring, and downright awesome comeback in the consolation bracket, beating Trinity College's Olivia Merns 4-6, 6-3, (10-6). However, Muto could not keep the momentum and fell 6-1, 6-1 to Brittney Faber of Middlebury College in the second round of the bracket.
Senior Audrey Jacobsen also played singles but lost 6-4, 6-0 in the championship bracket to Maile Macleod of Simmons College. In the consolation bracket, Jacobsen played a much stronger game, but was defeated 5-7, 6-3, (10-8) in an upsetting tiebreak match against Kelsey Semrod of Trinity College.
Katie Brezinski '11 and Tara Davidson '10 represented Colby in doubles, but they lost a heart-wrenching 9-7 game in the championship bracket to seeded doubles team Nicole Pontee and Joy Backer of Vassar College. The discouraged, but nonetheless intrepid, Mules then fell 8-1 to Middlebury's Tory Aiello and Anna Burke in the consolation bracket.
The men fought hard for Colby at the Middlebury Invitational, but had a challenging weekend. Phiilip Zunshine '12 played in the D singles match and won a consolation round match. Arjumand Masood '13 and Dan Freeman '13 also won a consolation round match in the B doubles team spot.
At the invitational on Saturday, Tom Kimball '12 also played in the A singles matches, but lost to Andrew Lee of Middlebury, 2,1. Kimball and Zunshine lost to Andrew Lee and Andrew Thompson of Middlebury 8-1, and Than Moore '12 and Sam Grant '12 lost to Josh Rifkin and Taylor Borda of Ithaca 8-5 in the A doubles matches.
The men head to the ITA Championships September 25-27, hosted by Williams. Post said of upcoming games, "I hope that in the matches, we will learn from this weekend and not feel quite so overwhelmed by the level of play and expectations and feel more comfortable on the court."
Wang and his teams approach the fall season focused more on individual events, where the results are important for individual rankings. The spring season is where the team scores are more important. However, Wang still stresses to his players that the program should always be in their mind and always comes first. Wang highlights, and the teams is focused on, being part of a program that institutes the priority of loyalty, commitment, leadership and even some sacrifice. Wang emphasized that the tennis team is dedicated to being, "outstanding members of the Colby community."
Although winning is always in a team's mind, Wang said, "I schedule these events, especially early on in our season, because I want my players to see where they stack up against some of the best [players] in the country." He later continued, "We have to be able to learn from the losses and know what we have to do to improve." That said, although the women and men both faced challenging opponents, and had humbling weekends, both teams showed sparks of glory, and the outlook for this fall, and especially the spring season, for Colby tennis looks bright.