Game, set, match: tennis ladies serving up the season’s mishaps, successes

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Sunburned, tired but happy, the women’s tennis team pulled off a close win against Randolph College in Virginia during their second match of the day. The first victory was hard-won against Old Dominion Athletic Conference rivals Lynchburg College. Now, we are all looking forward to a shower, some food and, most of all, sleep. Even though everyone is spent, we still find the energy to sing along to “The Lion King” played on the bus trip home.

It’s been a season of ups and downs. Close, disappointing losses against schools like Randolph Macon and Virginia Wesleyan still linger in the backs of our minds. Looking back at what exactly went wrong, it comes down to a number of different factors.

“Fighting weather has been hard,” said Assistant Tennis Coach Mark Lapierre. “It’s difficult to get into a good routine.”

The weather wasn’t the only thing that our team had to struggle through this season.

“We have seven ladies that all peaked at different times,” said Lapierre. “We are better than our record shows.”

Sophomore Allison Hewitt reflected on one of her own personal disappointments during the season.

“There was the indoor match earlier in the season against Randolph Macon,” said Hewitt. “I should have won that match, but I’m proud it went into three sets.”

Though this season’s record is discouraging, there were some definite positives that illuminated our team’s efficiency.

“Seeing myself improve has been really good,” said first-year Leah Meservey. “I can remember how I was at the beginning of the season.”

After adapting to her first year, Meservey feels right at home. She has high hopes of continuing her track record for improvement on and off the court.

“Being with people that have something in common with me is one of my favorite parts,” said Meservey. “It builds an important community, and I like the feeling of being a part of the team.”

Even the girls who did not get to play on a regular basis added to our team dynamic. Junior Madisen Forehand, true to her last name, has a wicked forehand.

Coaching for over 40 years, Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach David McCain has seen it all, and he knows the ingredients for a successful team.

“You have got to have a good balance of personalities,” said McCain. “Having mutual goals is important as well as wanting to be involved in the team.”

It is exactly this mix of personalities that worked together to make our team unique — from first-year Allie Guy yelling token phrases like “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” or “Work it, girl!” during practice, to junior Natalie Sutton, also known as my phenomenal doubles partner and co-captain, twerking on the fences of our courts. There’s never been a dull moment on our team.

Sitting on the court and watching sophomore Haley Andrews put her heart and soul into her match reminded me that winning isn’t everything, it’s how you play the game. Even though Andrews did not win her match, the whole team circled around in true Quaker fashion, clapping and showing our support and appreciation of her efforts.

“I’m glad I met everyone here,” said first-year Fernanda Gonzalez. “I probably would never have gotten to know so many of us if it hadn’t been for tennis.”

Love the game or hate the game, but at the end of the day, it’s my teammates who’ve made the sunburns worth it.

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