The women’s tennis team handed Conn College a thorough drubbing this past Wednesday, April 16 with a 9-0 victory. Although the match was held in New London, the Cards didn’t let the Camels’ home-court advantage faze them: Wesleyan did not surrender a single set to its opponents. Throughout both singles and doubles play, Wesleyan maintained full control of the match, despite difficult weather conditions that required the Cards to adapt on the fly.
“It was very windy,” said Ella Lindholm-Uzzi ’17. “When changing sides, you had to adjust the way you played, and the conditions definitely made it tougher to get a rhythm.”
This victory comes at a crucial time for the team; the Redbirds had recently dropped two consecutive matches to two very strong opponents in Tufts and Middlebury, whose Division III rankings are 18th and 10th, respectively. Having won six of the last seven meetings against the Camels, Wes has historically proven the stronger side when facing Conn College, which certainly provided the Cards with some added confidence going into the match.
In fact, the favorable matchup allowed Head Coach Michael Fried to give a few freshmen some more game-time experience, notably Lindholm-Uzzi, who saw her first match of the spring. Coming out of the small town of Red Hook, N.Y., Lindholm-Uzzi faced little competition in high school. As a freshman at Wesleyan, it has been difficult for her to get time on the court, but she finally got her chance. Out of the gate, nerves got the better of Lindholm-Uzzi as she fell behind 4-5 during the first set. Despite her initial apprehensions, she recovered and made a spectacular comeback by winning the next three games and taking the first set.
“I played really tight in the beginning,” said Lindholm-Uzzi. “Then [Fried] came over and coached me through it, and I came out with the win.”
She went on to handily win the second set 6-3 as she cruised to the finish line with her first career NESCAC victory.
Cameron Arkin ’17 was also able to find some playing time during her doubles match with Anna Howard ’15. Unlike Lindholm-Uzzi, Arkin has played a few times during the spring, including two NESCAC matches. Her last match was against Trinity (ranked 15th in DIII), against whom she and her doubles partner Lauren Jacobs ’15 lost 1-8. However, Arkin didn’t let her previous loss get to her. With a new partner, against a different team, she came out with a dominant 8-2 win.
Although her time at Wes has been a time of adjustment, Arkin loves the relationships she has been able to form with her teammates and credits the bonds she’s formed for her current successes.
“I wouldn’t be the same person without my team; they’re like my family at Wesleyan,” Arkin said. “It’s nice to have that kind of backbone.”
Wesleyan’s next match against Amherst will certainly be a difficult one. The Jeffs are currently ranked fourth in the nation and second in the Northeast. Moreover, the Cards have had a long and difficult history against their Little Three rival. Amherst has shut Wes out in every meeting since March 2000. That 2000 match ended in a 1-8 loss for the Redbirds. Even more shocking, the women’s tennis team hasn’t defeated Amherst since October 1, 1980. The cumulative score between the two sides since 1980 heavily favors the Jeffs, who have beaten Wes to the tune of 249-13. Although the Cards’ squad this year has shown improvement from the past several seasons, a victory in Amherst this Sunday, April 20 will be its toughest test.