The women’s tennis team emerged victorious from the Sacred Heart invitational last Saturday, Sept. 6. Although poor weather forced a few afternoon match cancellations, the doubles-only tournament provided Wes the opportunity to test the waters against strong Division I competition. Going 8-3 overall, the freshmen doubles squads played unfazed by the fact that this was their first time participating in the Sacred Heart Invitational, and that they were playing against Division I talent.
Head Coach Mike Fried appreciated that the invitation was extended to Wesleyan this year.
“To be able to play five Division I teams in-state is a great opportunity,” Fried said. “I think this will become an annual staple on our fall schedule.”
Eudice Chong ’18 and Helen Klass-Warch ’18 were arguably the strongest doubles team, going undefeated in the tournament. Their first match against Bryant got off to a bit of a rocky start and required both players to adjust to each other. However, after coming up with a close 6-4 victory, they started really clicking as they easily dispatched University of Hartford, 6-0. They followed up with another two victories against Fairfield University, 6-1, and Quinnipiac, 6-0.
“I think that in a phrase, [Chong and Klass-Warch] were extremely impressive,” Fried said. “I left the tournament impressed with the communication, support, and chemistry amongst all of our teams. But they put it together so quickly that I’m very optimistic about the future of the two of them as a team and our doubles in general for the year.”
The second doubles squad, made up of Dasha Dubinsky ’18 and Aashli Budhiraja ’18, finished the tournament with a 2-2 record. With strong wins posted over Fairfield University, 6-2, and Sacred Heart, 6-3, the two first-years showed that they will certainly bring an immediate boost to the Cardinals side this season.
The third group consisted of Nicole McCann ’18 and Ella Lindholm-Uzzi ’17. Going 2-1, they easily defeated University of Hartford, 6-1, but had a more difficult time against Fairfield and Sacred Heart University, where they won and then lost by the smallest of margins. Although Lindholm-Uzzi was on last year’s squad, she was not able to make many competitive appearances for the team. This year, she will be looking to change that and have a bigger role on the team.
The final doubles squad taken to the tournament was composed of newly appointed team Co-Captain Maddie James ’16 and returning starter Jessica Seidman ’16. Going 2-1, the two had a rough time against Bryant University, losing 3-6. However, they easily handled University of Hartford, defeating them 6-2, and cruised by Sacred Heart, winning 6-1.
This year will be one filled with responsibility for James, as she will look to captain a young squad that includes five incoming first years. At this early stage in the year, it is apparent that this new group of players is brimming with talent, but it will be on James’ shoulders to ensure that they can come together and be a cohesive part of the team.
“I think that Maddie has been somebody that all the other players on the team respect in terms of her approachability, her accessibility, and her genuine concern for her teammates,” Fried said. “I think that as she moves into her junior year, she’s using all of that in a role as a team leader and so far, she’s been doing it very effectively.”
The next stop for the Cardinals will be on Sept. 26-28 at Williams for the ITA Regional Championship. In the past three years, Wesleyan has not come up with many wins at the tournament, posting a 4-11 cumulative record. However, in light of this past weekend’s efforts and the strength of the new class of recruits, this year could be the start of a significant turning point for Wesleyan tennis.