Saturday, October 3, 2015

Smith Tennis Defeats Emerson 8-1

Dana Smith
Smith hosted Emerson indoors on a cloudy overcast Oct 3.  The Smith doubles found their pace and place in the match giving the Pioneers a 3-0 lead entering singles.  Margaret Anne Smith and Samantha Peikes teamed up, once again, to claim the victory at number 1 doubles, this time, 8-0.  The two played with determination moving forward and taking volleys early and offensively. The newly formed team of Noa Dubin and Joanna Kim shared the limelight with an 8-0 win at number 2 doubles powering their way to victory from the baseline and at net. The two seemed to compliment each other's play as they took control of the match from the first point. Morgan Barney and Janan Fugel had the toughest match at number three doubles but stayed positive and ended up winning against Jamie Coconis and Tiziana Valquez 8-5.

The singles players were next. Noa Dubin won 6-0, 6-0 for Smith over Tiziana Valquez of Emerson.  Noa hit a plethora of decisive winners leaving her opponent defenseless.  Margaret Anne Smith played second singles and was the first to finish her 6-0, 6-0 with her newly found aggressive style.  She has added several offensive tools to her already consistent game which she used wisely on this day. Samantha Peikes had a 6-0, 6-0 victory at three singles going to net at every opportunity. Sam's movement and anticipation on the court is becoming better and better and it is making her aggressive strategies more effective. Janan Fugel gave up just one game in her 6-0, 6-1 win answering Gilesea Thomas' strokes one for one and maintaining joy in the heat of competition.  Next on the court was Annina Van Riper who claimed her fifth court singles win 6-0, 6-2.  Her consistency and patience on court were most noteworthy.  She is a student of the game and a hard worker and she continues to raise her game and her competitive level at each match.  Dana Smith played sixth for Smith against Emerson.  She was cheered by her teammates as she competed for the first time at sixth singles.  She showed poise and determination on court and a calm demeanor.  She has shown great improvement in this short competitive season even though she was not able to claim the victory. She lost, this day, in a close 4-6, 3-6 match.

With two conference wins in a row, Smith will be on the road for the next two matches, facing Clark on Tuesday, October 6.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Smith Earns Important Victory Over Springfield College

Smith Tennis hosted Springfield College on Tuesday, Sept 29.  Smith edged Springfield 5-4 in an exciting match to keep their chances alive for the upcoming NEWMAC conference tournament.  The match was played on Smith's outdoor courts with one rain interruption during doubles play.

Margaret Anne Smith, once again, set the tone by singing the national anthem prior to the start of play.  She then paired up with fellow captain, Samantha Peikes, to earn the first doubles point for Smith in conference play this season.  Noa Dubin and Morgan Barney at number 2 doubles and Janan Fugel and Joanna Kim at third doubles were not so fortunate losing to the Pride 8-2 and 8-1 respectively.

Samantha Peikes

Noa Dubin made her comeback, after doubles, in her singles match assuming her aggressive baseliner style and winning over Rachel London 6-0, 6-2.  Margaret Anne and Samantha Peikes went on to earn decisive singles wins as well.  Margaret Anne made Smith tennis history as the first singles player to finish on this particular day.  Usually anchoring the singles play with her counter punching consistent style, Margaret Anne shed that reputation this day and took the lead never looking back  and winning 6-0, 6-0 at number 2 singles.  Samantha played a savvy player with many tennis "tools" but Sam had the right answers in all cases and won 6-1, 6-1.  Janan Fugel and Morgan Barney bowed to their Springfield opponents in straight sets.  Although Morgan Barney was last on the court giving her all, the limelight goes to Joanna Kim at sixth singles.  Joanna is beginning to find  her pace and style on the singles court hitting outright winners to the corners and bringing in the final win for the Pioneers.

It was an exciting day for Smith Tennis as they look forward to hosting Emerson College on Saturday, October 3.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

ITA Regional Tournament Provides A Plethora of Experience For All

ITA Highlights
Some of the best division III players in the nation gathered at Middlebury College September 25-27 for the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) regional singles and doubles tournament and Smith College players were among the participants.  Taking the singles title was Eudice Chong of Wesleyan defeating teammate Victoria Yu and Yu and Chong teamed up to win the doubles over Cheng and Likhanskaia of Bowdoin.  The Wesleyan and Bowdoin players will move on to the national ITA later in October representing the northeast region.  We wish them well.

Smith Highlights at the ITA
Margaret Anne Smith
The three representatives from Smith took the challenge this weekend and gave their best and much was gained from the experience.  The three individuals representing Smith were Noa Dubin, Margaret Anne Smith and Samantha Peikes. Noa and Margaret Anne represented Smith in singles and Margaret Anne paired up with Samantha Peikes in the doubles.  All three players came with the attitude to compete and compete they did.   Collectively, they played a total of 10 matches over the course of 2 days!  There is only one draw for this tournament and there are no easy matches as each school brings the top players in their line-up.  In the main draw, Noa Dubin competed against Karen Kremchenko of Brandeis and Margaret Anne Smith drew Pilar Giffenig of Bowdoin.  In doubles main draw, Smith and Peikes found themselves against second seed and eventual finalist Cheng and Likhanskaia of Bowdoin.  The Smith players, undaunted by their main draw losses, immediately signed up for singles only competition on day 2.  Dubin drew Dasha Dubinsky (Wesleyan) in first round of the back draw losing 1-8 and went on to take on Korina Neveux of Williams dropping the proset 1-8.  Samantha Peikes joined the singles players on day 2 and was pitted against Lauren Amos of Middlebury where she fell 0-8 and then took on EmilyOlson of Wellesley for an 0-8 loss.

Once again, Margaret Anne Smith came through for Smith College losing her first match to Timo Iwasaka of Tufts (2-8) and then rebounding for the important win against Isabella Gorham of Wheaton 9-7.  In true to form style, Margaret Anne analyzed the situation applying pressure at the right time and outlasting the opposition with her determination and consistency.  It was just a week ago that Izzy Gorham took a match and point from Peikes in dual match play!  Smith Tennis was able to end the weekend on a high posting a win before returning to Northampton.

What Is Next?
Smith is back in action on Tuesday, Septemeber 29 against rival, Springfield College.  Smith must win this match as well as to notch wins over Clark and Emerson to qualify as the final team to be selected to the NEWMAC conference tournament in October.  The match is slated to start at 4pm and all are invited to come and support the Pioneers on their home courts.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

MHC Took The Title

Mount Holyoke Tennis came to challenge Smith on Tuesday, September 22 and took home the gold defeating the Pioneers 9-0.

Mount Holyoke opened with a doubles sweep as the  Ayame Yazawa and Margaux Holloschutz notched an 8-3 win over the Pioneers' duo of Margaret Anne Smith and Samantha Peikes. At second doubles, Alexa Colas and Ishita Tibrewal earned an 8-2 win over Smith's Noa Dubin and Morgan Barney.   Rounding out the doubles action was the third doubles of Madison Rosen and Amy Chen, who powered their way to an 8-1 victory over Pioneers' Joanna Kim and Annina Van Riper.

Smith turned to their singles strength but it was not enough.  Noa Dubin played with more and more confidence as the match progressed but was not able to outlast Ayame Yazawa, who took first singles 6-3, 6-3 .   Samantha Peikes lost to Holloschutz 6-4, 6-0 at second singles in a hard hitting court battle where, at one point, Sam was seen diving across the court to save a point.   Morgan Barney ran down every shot she could but lost to Colas 6-0, 6-1 at four singles.  Joanna Kim bowed to Clara Wang 6-1, 6-0 in spite of her honed weapons, while Michelle Cai was the winner at six against Smith's Annina Van Riper.  Van Riper earned three games at the number six singles position ending with a 2-6, 1-6 loss.  The thriller, however, was on court three where Margaret Anne Smith kept Ishita Tibrewal on the court in a battle for three and a half hours ending in a 7-5, 0-6, 1-0 (10-8) victory for Tibrewal.  Rallies averaged 30 to 40 hits.  Concentration was never more readily witnessed.  The third singles players from both teams served as a role model of sheer determination and fortitude.

The exhibition players of Dana Smith and Faith Flowers held their ground and challenged Katie Shumacher and Madisen Rosen in both singles and doubles.  The Lyons held the wins in all exhibition positions.  A special acknowledgement goes to Janan Fugel who bravely sat the bench with a sprained ankle but who was ever present and invested in the play this day!  Unsa Malik also joined the team on the sideline today and will look forward to suiting up in the future for the Pioneers.

Both teams return to action this weekend, competing at the 2015 ITA Northeast Regionals, hosted by Middlebury College. The action begins on Friday and runs through Sunday.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Doubles Troubles Versus Wheaton College

Smith Tennis has yet to find the right combinations and strategies in doubles play as they bowed to Wheaton 2-7 in the dual match at Norton, MA Saturday, September 19.  Their singles play, however, is another story and one worthy of telling.

Margaret Anne Smith
The Pioneers were on the road for the first time against the Lyons having worked on doubles the week before.  In spite of the doubles focus and new combinations, the Wheaton team did not let Smith get a win in the doubles and led the match 3-0 as the singles started.  The excitement began with the singles.  Janan Fugel sprained her ankle in doubles play but garnered strength and determination to step out on the singles court at fourth singles.  She bravely held her position but not the win and the Pioneers now found themselves down 0-4.  As dismal as that seemed, the Smith team showed their fortitude by taking all five remaining singles matches to three sets.  "Effort" was the word of the day and Smith Tennis showed extreme effort even with their backs against the wall.  The match remained in the balance until Noa Dubin finally succumbed to Amanda Brazell 6-2, 0-6, 1-6 in a aggressively played match.   Noa clearly dominated in the first set moving Amanda from corner to corner, hitting excellent finishing shots.  Amanda is a fighter and she came to net, used her "save" slice and managed to get a foot-hold taking the second and third sets.  Samantha Peikes, at number 2 singles fought hard for sets two and three after breezing through the first set 6-0 but she could not regain the momentum and lost 6-0, 2-6, (8-10).  Margaret Anne Smith upheld Smith honor by losing a close first set and strategically evaluating the situation and taking away her opponent's strength to claim the second set and third set tiebreaker. (4-6, 6-4, 10-6).  Morgan Barney followed suit by dropping set one and rallying to claim sets two and three for the win at fifth singles.  Morgan's consistency and hustle disarmed her opponent as Morgan took control of the second and third sets!  Joanna Kim came close to providing another point for Smith, never giving up but succumbing in the end 4-6, 6-2, (7-10).  Three points only separated Joanna from the win but she showed her competitive spirit and her strong shot selection throughout the match and she remains a player to watch in the future.  Dana Smith anchored the singles in exhibition play showing her calm consistent side.  Although she was not able to win, she continues to add elements to her game whenever she competes.  Our most exuberant team member, Faith Flowers, stayed on the sideline this match nursing an injury but do not discredit her contribution to the team because it was huge on this Saturday.  She kept the team spirit high and the energy level with it.  She cheered and supported everyone everywhere.  It is difficult to know how she got to every court but it is surmised that her track background helps.  Faith keeps the team upbeat and her competitive positive nature is contagious.

Smith hosts rival, Mount Holyoke College, on Tuesday, September 22 at 5pm.  Come and cheer for the Pioneers!

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.

Smith Tennis Raises Awareness and Money for the Fight Against Breast Cancer

The Smith College Tennis Team gathered in full to support the fight against breast cancer by hosting a Rally for the Cure on Saturday, September 12.  The weather cooperated and participants and team members dressed in pink competed, rallied and enjoyed the day at our beautiful outdoor tennis venue.  Thanks to all who participated!  The two hour event is still bringing in contributions.  If you did not have a chance to attend, do not worry because we are still taking contributions:  Checks may be made out to Rally for the Cure and sent to 102 Lower College Lane, Ainsworth Gym, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063 c/o Chris Davis.  We will be hosting similar community service events in the future and would love to have you hit with our players and grace our courts with your presence!  Hope to see you soon.