Sunday, September 25, 2016

ITA Regional Tournament

Even though there were no wins for Smith on the first day of the ITA regional tournament, all four Smith tennis representatives courageously stepped up to the competition and showed improvement in each and every match. This year's event was hosted by MIT and the four tennis players representing Smith College Tennis played with courage and conviction.  They demonstrated to everyone that they can compete at this highest competitive level of division lll.  Noa Dubin, Sam Peikes, Joanna Kim and Margaret Anne Smith all attacked the competition with a positive spirit and an aggressive game.  Confident but humble, they each fought hard and they all seemed to enjoy the challenge. Noa and Sam competed in the front draw singles against Middlebury and Babson respectively. Joanna and Margaret Anne teamed up with Joanna to play Middlebury in the doubles. Sam, Margaret Anne and Joanna also each played consolation single matches on the first day.  

There was still more tournament action for the Pioneers on day 2.   Division III is all about participation and Smith Tennis embodied that  philosophy this weekend.  Although it was best for Joanna Kim to sit out of the Saturday matches to be ready for Springfield on Tuesday, Noa Dubin, Margaret Anne Smith and Sam Peikes jumped into the singles consolation competing against  Middlebury, Bowdoin, Tufts and Nichols. They wisely used the match ups against all of the different styles of play to gain valuable competitive experience.  

See the complete listing of ITA results and the ITA draws:

Smith tennis will be on the road this week with conference rival, Springfield College on Tuesday, September 27 and back on the road Oct 1 for a double header with Emerson and MIT.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Smith Has Best Spirit Regardless of Match Results

The Spirited Smith Tennis Team!
Smith Tennis hosted the Lyons of Wheaton College on, without a doubt, the most beautiful day of the fall.  September 17, following the introductions and a beautiful a cappella version of the national anthem by team member Margaret Anne Smith, the two teams took to the courts. Wheaton would end the eventual winner 6-3 but not without an exciting exchange of rallies and well crafted play that lasted from 1pm until 5pm.

Smith Tennis would have won the spirit award this week if one were given.  The team support is unparalleled as each rallied behind their teammates giving the extra edge.  The match was in the balance until close to the end and the unity and spirit helped to create a fun and exciting day.  In doubles, Kelli Cheung and Christine Yee, seniors, stepped up at third doubles to give Smith the first point of the match.  They showed determination, good team work and enthusiasm which helped set the stage for the rest of the day.  Exhibition doubles players Leigh Johnston and Kara Van Allen also joined the winning doubles celebrating small victories throughout the match.

Singles started with Noa Dubin facing sophomore, Florida junior tennis stand out, Ines de Bracamonte and staying on court through a close 6-4, 6-2 match .  Although Wheaton took the match, it was not without exchange of strong groundstrokes and exciting points.  Noa discovered that she can be in the hunt with all level players as she answered the forceful shots with her own strong ground stokes and not backing off the pace.  Noa is always fun to watch compete as she raises her game a notch in competition.

Sam in action
Sam Peikes found herself against a rise ball player with very fast and flat strokes.  First year,   Isabelle Garvanne took the ball early forcing Sam back off the baseline.   Inititally, it seemed to take Sam off balance but in typical Samantha Peikes style, she exclaimed to her coaches that she needed to get more balls in play and that she did.  She matched her opponent toe to toe but she could not build up enough momentum to turn the match around eventually losing 6-2, 6-3.  Sam appeared to never lose her love of the "battle" throughout the match as she stayed in each point and ended with a satisfactory grin!

Toula Sierros played number 5 singles this day.  She owns more shots then can be named.  She is a multi talented player with a big heart.  She can topspin, side spin, underspin, and confusespin her opponent.  She owns it all in her laid back easy going style.  So why no win for Toula on Saturday.  Her consistency and shot selection is still being developed.  But watch out, when she figures out where those lines are on the court, few will be able to stop her!

Margaret Anne Smith stepped onto the court at number 4 singles against Wheaton opponent Connor O'Keefe and started dismantling her opponent's game from the first ball.  She kept her opponent from hitting in her strike zone by hitting high deep shots whether with or against the breezy windy conditions.  Persistent and unflappable, Margaret Anne is the consummate competitor.  She lets nothing get under her skin and she has a positive spirit even during the most challenging of points.  Her patient style brought in another win for Smith.

Janan Fugel returned to the lineup after a minor injury.  Like Toula, Janan has a tool box of strokes and tactics offering her many options.  She used them all in her Saturday match against Arielle Klopsis and she even surprised herself on the effectiveness of her slice save that left her opponent missing potentially easy winners.  Janan took her match to a third set tiebreak but her opponent was able to slip by.

Joanna Kim, at number 3 singles,  just keeps getting better in competition.  She has recognized the importance of balancing the four parts of the game using her physical strength and racket execution to combine with her developing mental and tactical sides.  She stayed mentally steady throughout always looking for opportunities to sneak in and finish the point.  She endured her opponent and conditions and was last on the court bringing in an important win for Smith 6-4, 6-4.

It should be mentioned that our exhibition players all played on Saturday and they continue to improve providing a positive support for the team.  Emma EssenmacherEvie HoffmanLeigh Johnston,Tess OstoyichKara Van Allen and Emily Barry all played in exhibition matches bringing in several wins and giving stability and depth to the starting lineup.  This is the group providing much of the sideline spirit throughout.  Alexandra Steck acted as an assistant. She is currently nursing an injury that has kept her on the sidelines for a time.  Her commitment also resonates with this team as she stayed throughout the match offering support in many ways.

All in all, the Smith vs Wheaton tennis match provided an exciting venue for the spectators.  There were close and exciting matches wherever you looked this day.  A big thanks goes out to all who came to the match to support the Pioneers.  Smith will be back in action at home against arch rival, Mount Holyoke College, on Tuesday at 5pm.  Please return to support this enthusiastic group.  We guarantee you will enjoy the time.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Smith Tennis was on the road two weeks in a row with the toughest of conference competition.  Saturday, September 3, the team traveled to Wellesley College for the first of the conference match this fall.  Sans Samantha Peikes due to an ankle sprain, Smith was still able to put a formidable lineup forward but only able to convert one match to a win.  Noa Dubin paired up with Joanna Kim but the attacking team for Smith was not able to displace the Wellesley team of Chen and Huang and they went down 1-8.    Margaret Anne Smith partnered with first year, Toula Sierros from Northampton.  The newly formed doubles combo showed good promise for the future although they were not able to earn a victory this day.  The senior team of Alexandra Steck and Kelli Cheung met their match losing to Hu and Wellesley first year Selina Peng 1-8.  Toula returned to singles to anchor the 5th postiion and showed her variety of strokes as she angled, sliced and passed her opponent controlling the rhythm and momentum of the match and securing the only Smith win of the day in a three set battle 6-2, 3-6, (10-5) over Sojin Ki.  In the typical persistent and effective style dreaded by most of her opponents, Margaret Anne Smith kept Hernandez on the court, at the number 4 singles position, the longest but was finally was forced to succumb to the harder hitting Wellesley player.  Although Wellesley took the win,  Margaret Anne, affectionally known as Emmay, controlled the match, the tempo and the pace of the game taking  Hernandez's weapons away and leaving her with only dogged determination and patience in order to outlast Emmay 6-3, 6-3 in a match that lasted over 2 hours.

Smith returned to the Wellesley area on September 11 to face Babson at their home site.  Strong storms earlier in the day delayed the start of the match but that did not seem to deter the Beavers as they jumped to an early lead and held it throughout the match defeating Smith 9-0.  Although Samantha Peikes was back in the line-up, she played only singles and Noa Dubin and Joanna Kim, once again, paired up at number one doubles.  The points were exciting, hard hitting and precise as the two teams exchanged powerful groundstrokes and well executed volleys.  Smith looked strong at 1 and the 1-8 lose did not tell the entire story.  Margaret Anne Smith and Toula Sierros are developing as a doubles team and the 2-8 loss to Kyle Kam and Claire Foster (BAB) did not seem to dampen the Smith duo's enthusiasm for the partnership or doubles play.  Leigh Johnston and Kara Van Allen stepped up to third doubles and gave their best in a fast moving game ending 8-0 for Babson.   Alexandra Steck and Kelli Cheung took an exhibition position on this day, playing solid doubles at the number 4 position.  Both are  recovering from injuries.

Noa Dubin came out of the blocks swinging at number 1 singles but was forced to retire her match due to sickness.  Joanna Kim, at number 3 singles, used her strength and strategy to catch her opponent off guard in many points but she was not able to put enough together to grab but one game in the match.   Toula Sierros , 5th singles, was not as fortunate this week as she was in the Wellseley match and she bowed to Kylie Kam 6-0, 6-0.  Christine Yee, 6th singles, gave her best as always.  In her fighting, "never give up" style, Christine overcame a wrist injury to compete earning 2 games against Emily Roeper.

Samantha Peikes  and Margaret Anne Smith were the last two singles players on court at the number 2 and 4 singles positions respectively.  Both exhibited long rallies and solid strategies as they battled on adjacent courts with the remainder of each team looking on.  Both Sam and Emmay stayed even with their opponents throughout the match.  Margaret Anne dropped her first set 6-2 but came back strong in the second set at 4-4 before suffering a 4-6 loss that could have gone either way.  Clare Foster was finally able to pick up the win at 4th singles but not without a battle.  Samantha Peikes took Emmay's reputation by being the last player on the court.  Sam's close 6-3, 6-3 loss to Ramirez was a result of a service break in each set and was characterized by Sam's decisive and attacking style.  Her use of directionals was apparent as she showed no fear in changing direction and pace of her shots.

Special acknowledgement goes to all of our exhibition players as well as those scheduled to play but did not have a match.  On Septemeber 11, those not previously mentioned include Emma Essenmacher  and Evie Hoffman scheduled for 5th doubles but did not play because Babson did not field a 5th doubles that day.  Exhibition singles players Tess Ostoyich and Emily Berry played at number 7 and 8 respectively.  Smith is fortunate to have a deep team of devoted team members who give their best whether in competition or on the sideline.  Thanks to all.

The challenge this week is for the Smith players to acknowledge the small victories and areas of improvement and to move ahead to opponent, Wheaton College.  Wheaton will travel to Northampton on September 17 for a 12n match up of the conference teams.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Smith Wins 5-4 in Cliffhanger Beginning to the Fall 2016 Season

Smith Tennis Enters the Fall Season
Ready or not, here we come!  Smith College Tennis took to the courts in an early opening match on Thursday, Sept 1 vs Nichols College.  The Pioneers kept the spectators on the edge of their seats winning the overall match 5-4.

In doubles play, the number one doubles team of Noa Dubin and Sam Peikes showed signs of crafty savvy doubles play as they took the lead 6-2 in the 8 game pro set only to lose the lead to an 8-8 tie.  Once they caught the spectators attention, they were then able to regain their momentum to win the tiebreak 7-0 and the overall match 9-8.  Number 2 and 3 doubles of Margaret Anne Smith and Janan Fugel at number 2 doubles and Alexandra Steck and Kelli Cheung  at third doubles were not so fortunate bowing to the Bisons leaving Smith down 1-2 following doubles play.  

Noa Dubin at number 1 singles and Sam Peikes at number 2 stepped confidently into the singles arena  with  decisive play defeating each of their opponents 6-1, 6-1.  Joanna Kim , at number 3 singles, played the most confident and mentally controlled match of her life not allowing her high strung opponent to distract her from the task at hand.  The momentum shifted frequently and, overall points were just about evenly divided  between the two players but in the end, Lindsay Kaplan of Nichols was able to link four additional points to a 10-6  third set tiebreak victory. Margaret Anne Smith analyzed her opponent, Rachel McDonald, quickly defrocking her of any of her weapons and winning 6-1, 6-3 while bringing in the winning point in the overall match for Smith. Kelli Cheung fought to a third set but succumbed after winning the first set 6-3. Kelli used her powerful groundstrokes, but it was not enough to outlast her opponent.  She lost  the second set 5-7 and the third set tiebreak 2-10.  Newcomer to the Smith lineup but known in the Pioneer Valley, Toula Sierros made her debut appearance in the starting line-up at number 6 singles.  Playing with confidence and shot variety, she
gained momentum throughout the match winning 7-5, 6-1.  

Exhibition doubles players and first years Evie Hoffman and Emma Essenmacher made their debut on the team at fourth doubles.  Leigh Johnston and Kara Van Allen paired up for the first time and brought in an 8-1 win at 5th doubles.  In exhibition singles, senior Christine Yee lost in a battle 3-6, 2-6 where Tess Ostoyich and Alexandra Steck brought in single exhibition wins.

Smith Tennis Travels to Wellesley on Saturday, September 3 for the first conference match of the season.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wow, Best Preseason Tennis Ever

Thanks to Jennifer Beindorf and Kristen Flager, Smith Tennis Team has had the best start to their preseason ever!  Check out the article:  Mindset Coach Jennifer Beindorf '91 Presents to Fall Student-Athletes

The infamous 1991 Smith Doubles Team of Beindorf and Monachino who inspired much of Jen's mindset presentations
Preseason mindset training with Allen Fox's book as the reference!
The presenters:  Jen and Kristen (actual opponents in the 1988 NCAA nationals of Smith vs UCSD; now tennis partners and lecturers
Fitness with Jake certain to give Smith Tennis the edge

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Reunion Reunion....Smith Tennis of course!

Jen Beindorf Baily, Jen Monachino Lapey, Chris Davis, Mary Dickinson, Dana Strickland, Mandy Klaas
There was a wonderful joyous celebration on Saturday afternoon, May 21, at the Smith College outdoor tennis courts.  The day of second reunion began with the traditional alumnae parade and state of the college address by Kathy McCartney (Smith President)  on center campus followed by an athletic reception.  The highlight of the day, for tennis players,  took place at 3pm on the Smith College outdoor courts.  Six former team members spanning from 1981 through 2016 participated in the fun tennis event.  The Smith College 1991 Tennis Team was one of the best for Smith with the players earning a national ranking of seventh.  The top doubles team from that year consisted of Jennifer Beindorf and Jen Monachino.  Although each now reside in different parts of the country (Florida and NY respectively) and are busy in work and with raising a family,  they have managed to carve out important tennis time.  The two arrived to campus for the festivities with a stronger tennis game then when they graduated.  Their priority, among all the reunion activities offered, was tennis and so we formed an eclectic group of alums, current players and members of the Smith and Northampton tennis community.  All took to the courts that Saturday afternoon with Jen and Jen upholding their reputation. They defeated anyone assigned to play them and they played with determination and decisiveness .  There was much reminiscing as the two sparked stories and memories.   Other tennis alums, who played on Saturday, included Mary Dickinson ('81).  Mary always entertains her audience with remarkable stories of her life experiences.  Mandy Klaas ('00) was able to make the pilgrimage and showed her volley poaching aggressiveness has not diminished over the years.  Dana Strickland ('91) was also a member of the nationally ranked team of 1990-1991.  Dana was spotted in several pictures from past years and has remained a classy and

Jen and Jen;  they just keep getting better on the tennis court!
gracious competitor. Lisa Black and Nawal Mays were spotted in the parade but they were not able to participate in the tennis.  A special thanks goes out to Leigh Johnston who represented our current team and served as the student coordinator for the class of 1981.
Tennis alumnae and community support