This past week, the women’s tennis team fell to Trinity 6-3. Although this loss is a setback for the Cardinals, the scoreline shows signs of improvement from last year’s outing against the Bantams, which resulted in a 9-0 defeat for Wes.
There are plenty of reasons to take this year’s loss as a sign of improvement. Two of the Redbirds’ three victories involved Anna Howard ’15, who only played two matches in 2013 and has appeared in all of Wesleyan’s matches in 2014. Her first victory was a dominant performance in which she only surrendered one game on her way to a 6-1, 6-0 win. Howard paired with teammate Clare DuBrin ’16 for her second victory; the two handily won their doubles match 8-2. This strong showing from Howard put her over .500 on the season, boosting her overall record to 8-6 and a 4-3 record in singles play.
Another returning player making a winning impact during the match was Jessica Seidman ’16, who had a close singles match that ended in a tie-breaking third set, 6-1, 6-7, (10-5). Last year, Seidman suffered a difficult 6-1, 6-3 loss which was in the back of her mind as she went into this past week’s matchup.
“Of course [last year’s match] was in the back of my head, but I just tried to focus on the moment,” Seidman said. “You can’t let past years affect your current play. You’ve just got to take it day by day.”
Both Seidman and Howard’s matches demonstrate how this squad continues to improve from year to year. Dominant wins such as the 9-0 thrashing of Colby on Sunday also show how this team is moving in a better direction. Perhaps most impressively, the Cardinals did not drop even a set in singles play. The closest match of the meet was a 7-5, 7-6 win for senior Captain Grace Smith.
One of the most impressive performances came from Olivia Koh ’17, who once again provided a lopsided win for the Cardinals as she double-bageled her opponent in two sets, winning 6-0, 6-0. This season, Koh is trying especially hard to make a positive impact on the court for the Cardinals. Despite a difficult 6-0, 6-1 loss this past week to Trinity’s Senzo Mauve-Maphisa (a senior with a 29-13 career record), Koh has already started changing the Wesleyan women’s tennis culture into a winning one, as she has posted a 6-2 singles record this spring.
Koh has proven herself a significant contributor to the team this spring. Yet what is most extraordinary about this freshman is not her impressive win-loss record, but her humility amidst it all. Koh stressed how she doesn’t think about the numbers when she steps on the court, but about her teammates.
“I go into every match with the mindset of playing for every girl on the team, because I see all the hard work they’ve put in and it inspires me to work equally hard on the court,” Koh wrote in a message to The Argus. “Sometimes you win sometimes you lose, but you’ll come out feeling a winner if you leave knowing there’s nothing else you could have done better.”
Her efforts and contributions were honored a few weeks ago as she won the NESCAC player of the week award.
The rest of the Cardinals’ schedule consists of NESCAC teams. This year’s squad has yet to lose two conference matches back-to-back, but they also have yet to string consecutive conference wins together. On Wednesday, April 9, the women’s tennis team will look to improve on its 2-2 home NESCAC record against a Tufts team that is fresh off an 8-1 victory over Hamilton.