The women’s team team ended its 2013-2014 campaign with a 7-2 win over Bates. Except for one singles loss, the Cardinals did not drop a set, although a few were close.
Olivia Koh ’17 held strong throughout her 6-4, 6-4 win. Both Jessica Seidman ’16 and Captain Nicki Softness ’14 battled in each of their second sets to pull out the victory. They both had 6-2, 7-5 victories. Captain Grace Smith ’14 was also able to end her season and Wes tennis career on a high note with a 6-0, 7-5 singles match win.
“I’ll miss playing for something bigger than myself,” Smith said. “During matches when I’m physically and emotionally drained, and my teammates are there cheering me on… I’m able to find something to play for. It’s not as fun when you go out to play for yourself… With a team your win is not the end, but a building block to the bigger goal the team is trying to achieve.”
This year represented a transitional period for the team as they look forward to integrating one of the top recruiting classes in the nation next year. Moreover, this year’s squad showed signs of moving in a new direction, one where Wesleyan will finally be able to compete at the highest levels of Division III tennis. The team nearly appeared in the NESCAC playoffs.
According to Coach Mike Fried, NESCAC mandates a specific number of conference matches that rotate every two years. This year, Wesleyan had nine and ended with a 4-5 record (.444 winning percentage), but there are other teams that played fewer. Trinity played seven conference matches with a 3-4 record (.429 winning percentage). Due to the similarity of the two records, the committee decided to consider other factors, including head-to-head record, common opponent record, and regional ranking. Of the three conference opponents that Wesleyan shared with Trinity, the two sides ended with the same result.
According to regional ITA rankings, Trinity is placed higher at #7, while the Cards are #12. However, the decisive factor was the head-to-head record, which had the Bantams beating the Redbirds 6-3 in their only meeting of the season. It was therefore the unanimous decision by the NESCAC committee that Trinity receive the sixth and final seed in the playoffs.
Despite the decision, the team members still hold their heads high, although there certainly is still frustration that they came so close to qualifying for the tournament; a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2008.
“I think a lot of people on the team didn’t even think there was a chance that we would be able to make it [into the playoffs],” said Softness. “There is still a little frustration that we were right there; we were so close. It all came down to the Trinity match. If we had won that, we would have made it.”
Coach Fried believes that what happened this year will lead to NESCAC changes in the scheduling for women’s tennis, but this year will have to go down in the books as an “almost.”