Monday, September 14, 2015

Smith Tennis Welcomes Babson Sunday, Sept. 13

Faith Flowers
Smith College Tennis hosted top ranked Babson on Sunday, September 13.  The light mist and the overall forecast did not favor outdoor play but the two teams managed to compete, in the entirety of the match, on the outdoor courts.  The overcast day was overtaken by the sounds of tennis balls being struck firmly and decisively as Smith stayed "tough" against a seasoned national level team.  The 0-9 score for the Pioneers was no indication of the quality of play that took place this Sunday afternoon.  Noa Dubin and Margaret Anne Smith set the standard by battling the power and finesse of their opponents at first doubles.  Each ran down drop shots and angles in a effort to earn a game.  Noa went on to take on nationally ranked Yagur Akgul in singles and Noa never let her confidence waiver as she continued to attack at every opportunity.  Sam Peikes and Janan Fugel bowed to Dina Weick and Victoria Paolind of the Beavers in doubles but Sam came back to stand strong against Eleni Gianelos at number 2 singles.  The rallies were of the highest level in division III.  While Sam was only able to secure 2 games, the match was competitive from start to finish.  Margaret Anne posted the best score and had the longest match of the day against Dina Weick.  Margaret Anne gets to balls that seem humanly impossible and forces her every opponent to play their very best if they are to beat her.  Margaret Anne lost 2-6, 2-6 but not before a record number of rallies, deuces and aces!  Morgan Barney and Annina van Riper stayed positive looking for opportunities to make a dent against the doubles pair from Babson.  They did win a game but better than the result were the volley exchanges in several instances that took place on the third doubles court.  Janan Fugel played fourth singles and though she never found the right combination to earn a game, she did show a variety of skills that will serve her well in the future.  Joanna Kim earned two games against Kylie Kam and showed her offensive side that will only improve with time and persistence.  Joanna has a strong forceful topspin stroke and she is not afraid to use it .  She is also willing and eager to come to net.  While she is still working on finding the balance between her offensive and defensive play, she continues to raise her game every time she steps on the court.  Melanie Sayarath is a welcome addition to the line up returning to Smith and Smith tennis this fall.  Her smooth and efficient style will serve her well as she joins the singles line-up.  Sunday, she took on Chloe Brandt and gradually found her competitive style in order to claim two games.  Exhibition players of Faith Flowers and Dana Smith were all smiles as the two continue to use their new found skills in actual competition.  Keep an eye on these two as they start their progress up the ladder!  Annina van Riper gained additional singles experience as she accepted the exhibition court on Sunday.

As infamous former basketball coach, John Wooden, said,

               "Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

The Smith Team plays with grace but also with determination and a fair amount of grit.  This team never gives up on a single ball or game.  All members of the Smith team appear to always give their best.  Coaches Davis and Lawrence are proud of this group.  "They are transforming and honing their skills and strengths each day, supporting and challenging each other and, seemingly, to be enjoying the process.   The improvement is obvious."

 Smith returns to action on Saturday, Sept 19 away at Wheaton College.