Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What's So Great About The Seven Sisters' Championship?

So what is so great about the Seven Sisters' Tennis Championship hosted at Smith on April 11 and 12?  If you really want to know, just ask the players who have participated in the event since 1983 until now.

The tournament is an odd round-robin format.  The ITA recognizes only individual results from the event.  There are only 5 participating schools (Vassar, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Bryn Mawr) since Barnard joined Columbia and Radcliffe joined Harvard for the Ivy Championships.  So what is so special about this event?  The participating team members will tell you about the healthy rivalry, the ability to compete against each school without tournament elimination, and the special shared camaraderie between players and coaches.

One highlight has always been the dinner accompanied by team introductions and an honoring of the seniors.  With four seniors on the Smith team, the moment was all the more meaningful.  Senior Andrea Tanco ran the tournament desk while seniors Seema Samawi, Jordan Dubin, and Ruth Yi all brought in wins for the Pioneers over the weekend.  Smith ended the first day 1-1 with a win over Bryn Mawr and a loss to Vassar. Day two brought Smith face to face with MHC on the MHC indoor courts, a distinct advantage for the Lyons.  The match ended with a 1-4 loss followed by a fast return to the Smith site to take on Wellesley (0-5).   All team members contributed to match play whether in the line-up, exhibition positions, cheering from sidelines or involved in the banquet introductions.  Alexandra Steck and Christine Yee both made appearances in the starting line-ups and Katie Hazen competed in exhibition.  The successes were not limited to the seniors as Margaret Anne Smith (sophomore)  and Samantha Peikes (first year) each earned a Smith point against Bryn Mawr with Sam bringing in a second point in a heart- stopping comeback tiebreak against Mount Holyoke College.  While Sam was earning her win, Margaret Anne was engaged in what may be a Guinness Book of Records' longest rally with hundreds of balls hit back and forth on just one point of a single game and the longest first set ever against MHC's Ishita Tibrewal that lasted over two hours.  Ishita finally prevailed going on to gain momentum and the second set.  Additional Pioneers who helped bring in the six point total for Smith on Sat and Sun were Kelli Cheung and Anja Block.  A special congratulations to Samantha Peikes and Margaret Anne Smith for being selected to the All-Tournament Team.

The story does not stop here as all teams gathered for the traditional banquet where teams mixed and shared commonalities and interests beyond the realm of tennis.  Karen Kristoff (Smith Admissions officer) offered words of wisdom and each teams' captains made team introductions encapsulating the personality of each team member with a few words and a creative descriptive gift.  Smith captains, Ruth Yi and Jordan Dubin, made a classy presentation and Margaret Anne Smith and Samantha Peikes entered the stage to honor our captains.  It was a special evening indeed.

There was excitement, endurance, disappointment, satisfaction, frustration, patience, persistence and the list goes on.  The emotions and the experiences were all rolled into the challenging and long two days.  Former and current team members not in the match came to be a part of the event.  Megan Carter and Ella Genasi Smith, two current students and former team members stayed through the Saturday matches.  Vida Chen, in her residency program in CA, delayed her visit to support Smith while reminiscing about her Seven Sister Tennis days.  President McCartney and her husband graced the Indoor Track and Tennis Facility to cheer for Smith Tennis.  So what is so great about the Seven Sisters' Tennis Championship?  Just ask someone who has been there.  In spite of the sacrifices, barriers, obstacles, weather issues and court availability that is inherent to most tournaments; the team surmounted the obstacles and became tougher competitors and, most importantly, created Seven Sister Tennis memories to be treasured for a lifetime.

Overall Standings
5.Bryn Mawr

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Smith Triumphs 5-4 in Cliffhanger Match

Smith Tennis hosted Colby-Sawyer on Friday, April 3 on the indoor courts.  The  Pioneers  outlasted the Chargers 5-4 with a dramatic finish at sixth singles.

Both teams were sans number 1 players for separate reasons but it did not deter the enthusiasm and fortitude of  either team. Colby-Sawyer took the early lead in doubles play at 1 and 2 doubles in a hard hitting contest. Number 3 doubles of Smith veteran Seema Samawi and first year, Anja Block, held on to take three doubles. It was 2-1 for the Chargers going into singles play.   Was Smith prepared and ready for the challenge?  It would remain to be seen as the Chargers clung to the lead for the majority of the match. The first singles to finish was Seema at number 4 singles. She gave her "all" in doubles and was forced to retire at 2-2 in the first set. Smith now had their backs against the wall with a 1-3 deficit when Sam Peikes and Margaret Anne Smith rose to the occassion with decisive wins at number 2 and 3 singles respectively.  The match score was now tied at 3-3.  Colby-Sawyer's number 1, Ashley Woodside, quickly stole the lead back for CS by defeating Kelli Cheung in straight sets.  With the two matches remaining , Colby Sawyer had a 4-3 lead putting pressure on Smith to win at both 5 and 6 singles in order to claim the win. Ruth Yi was undaunted by the challenge as she rallied her way with patience to a 6-3, 6-3 win bringing the score to 4-4. The lone deciding match was number 6 singles, Badriyyah Al-Sabah. Could this sophomore in her first ever singles collegiate match come through for Smith?  All of those in attendance were on the edge of their seats and all eyes were on this talented athlete from Kuwait. She dug deep to answer each and every shot she received. Patient, albeit nervous, Badriyyah ran down wide balls, pulled her opponent to the side and hit carefully constructed passing shots past her to secure a 6-0, 6-1 victory!  The smile on Badriyyah's face at the end of the match said it all. Smith edged out a victory over a team that has dominated Smith the last two years.  Congratulations to the Smith Pioneers on a hard fought win over a formidable opponent.

Smith will host the historic Seven Sisters' Championship on April 11 and 12. The biggest question may be whether the tornament will be outside. Spring is coming!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Smith Challenges Connecticut College and Simmons But Cannot Secure The Win.

The Smith Tennis Team hosted Connecticut College Saturday, March 28 and Simmons College on March 29.  The final match score on both days both was 2-7 but the competition each day was much closer then the scores indicate.  Both matches were started with the national anthem sung by Margaret Anne Smith.  Her beautiful voice resonates through the Indoor Track and Tennis Facility offering an inspiring appropriate start to match play.

On Saturday, the Camels from Connecticut arrived to the Smith campus after losing 3-6 to MHC but their spirits were not dampened as they shut out Smith in doubles and gained 4 victories in singles. At one point Smith had the upper hand on the third doubles court. Seema Samawi and Kelli Cheung were up 7-4 but failed to close out the match allowing the Conn. College pair to rally back for a 9-7 victory.  Co-captains Jordan Dubin and Ruth Yi took the number 2 doubles to a tiebreak but the duo could not convert the win ultimately losing 7-9 in the tiebreak.  In singles, Samantha Peikes and Seema Samawi settled the score with two well fought wins. Sam's courageous rush and crush style served her well against Warren from Conn. College as Sam turned a 7-5, 4-6 split set into a victory by capturing the deciding tiebreaker 10-6. Seema fought through her first set with new found patience to defeat Conn College's Kalia with a 7-6 (7-5 breaker) before cruising to a decisive 6-1 second set for the win.

Sunday, Smith returned to their home courts to take on Simmons College.  Even though Smith juggled line-up combinations, Simmon's doubles were too strong for the Pioneers leaving Smith down 0-3 at the start of singles. Dubin was forced to withdraw in singles because of a foot injury. Everyone stepped up a position and Ruth Yi entered the line up at number 5 singles. This was Ruth's singles debut after her ankle injury. Hopefully, with a few days rest, Jordan will re-enter the starting line-up on Friday, April 3.  Seema Samawi had a repeat winning performance in singles against Khoury.  Seema's  back to back victories were highlight singles wins for the senior who has served as a loyal member to the Smith Tennis Team all four years.  Margaret Anne Smith re-joined the winning ranks by posting a solid straight set victory over Downey of Simmons. Margaret Anne played with her patient and persistent style outlasting her opponent with a 6-2, 6-1 victory at number 3 singles.

Looking forward to this view!
Smith Tennis will host Colby-Sawyer in the afternoon on Friday, April 3.  Please join us if you are in the vicinity.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Break in Newport, Rhode Island Proved a Smashing Success!

Smith Tennis had a decisive 9-0 victory against Salve Regina on Monday, March 16 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Smith College Tennis Team at Newport, RI
Rebounding from the loss to Bates at the end of February, the Smith Tennis Team began to re-group prior to their spring break trip.  The team re-evaluated and reviewed their mission and goals and, as the sport psychologists say about forming cohesive groups, did some new "forming" and "storming" in order to start "performing".

The team adjusted their departure schedule from Smith on Sunday and weathered the cold and windy conditions to arrive in time to cheer for Smith lacrosse.  The lacrosse team also had a weekend match against Salve Regina.

Team members made many sacrifices over the course of the mini break except in terms of cuisine.  Nutrition was a priority and the team took full advantage of the opportunities offered.  From sushi to cheesecake to co-captain Ruth's culinary skills, the team dined in high fashion forming a stronger bond with every meal!

The weekend weather was not yet ready to cooperate for tennis and the tennis team was forced indoors for practice on Sunday and match play on Monday.  The short one hour intense warm up/practice session seemed to energize the group late Sunday afternoon in preparation for match play the following day.

Salve Regina was unable to clear their courts of the snow and ice on Monday and all agreed to play indoors in Providence.  Everyone on the team cooperated with location changes, line-up changes, and doubles partnership changes in order to allow the majority of players a chance to compete.  It is often said that the most valuable members of a team are the ones who can stay positive and make contributions to the team while on the bench.  Ruth Yi, Andrea Tanco and Anje Block should be commended for their positive contribution to the team from the sidelines.

The team was ready when they struck the first ball in doubles against the Seahawks on Monday and the momentum carried over into the singles with all but one player for the Pioneers winning in straight sets.  Smith Tennis showed their support for one another and their on-court competitive potential on March 16 with a solid 9-0 victory.

Smith faces Connecticut College and Simmons at home on March 27 and 28 respectively.  Come join us and see this team in action if you are in the area.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Smith Posts Victory In Opening Spring Match

Smith Tennis defeated Curry College 8-1 in a decisive win in their opening season match on February 22 at the Indoor Track and Tennis Facility at Smith.

The match day began with the tradition of the playing of the national anthem prior to play but there was something very special about the presentation.  An a cappella rendition of the national anthem was presented by Margaret Anne Smith, a member of the Smith Tennis Team.  Her clear  beautiful voice rang through the large indoor facility as all stood silently.  She set the tone for the day and reminded us all of the many talents possessed by Smith students.  It was a gift that all those in attendance appreciated and will never forget!

The Pioneers seemed full of positive energy and enthusiasm and you could feel the electricity in the air as "match day" began.  The third doubles team of Seema Samawi, senior from Syria paired up with Baddriyyah Alsbah, one of the newest team members of the team hailing from Kuwait, to claim the first point for Smith. The two had a clean sweep 8-0 victory finishing their match in record time.  Margaret Anne Smith, sophomore from Spring Lake NJ, and Samantha Peikes, first year from West Hartford, CT,  continued the trend with an 8-3 win at 1 doubles.  The two, playing first doubles, complimented each other as they roll angled returns, power blocked shots and dominated the net in aggressive style.  Number 2 doubles was not as fortunate as senior captain, Ruth Yi,  rolled her ankle in the ninth game giving Curry their only point and forcing Aleaxandra Steck and Ruth to retire their match.

Christine Yee, sophomore from South San Francisco, started a trend in the singles wins at number 5 with a 6-0, 6-0 victory.  Jordan Dubin, senior co-captain from Southampton NY, at 2 singles, Samantha Peikes at 3 singles, Margaret Anne at 4 singles followed suit with 6-0, 6-0 victories as well.  Kelli Cheung, sophomore from Plainfield NJ, took charge in her first set with a 6-0 win but found herself in a battle for the second set where she had to rely on patience and persistence to claim the second set victory 7-5.  Katie Hazen rounded out the varsity singles line-up with a 6-1, 6-1 win giving the Pioneers a 1-0 start to the spring season.  In exhibition play,  Breanna Parker, first year from Iowa and new to Smith Tennis, left her winning mark with a 6-0, 6-1 victory.  It was a great start to the season!

The 6am practices continue as the team will prepare for an away match against Bates this coming Saturday, February 28.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Is It Spring Yet? Smith Tennis says "Yes"!

The calendar indicates that it is time for spring tennis to begin but nothing looks like spring in New England.  With mounds of snow and ice and sub-zero temperatures, the Smith College Tennis Team is braving the elements for their traditional 6am practices.  So far they have survived, and the first match is scheduled in the ITT (indoor Track and Tennis Facility) on Sunday, Feb 22 at 1pm vs Curry College.  We would love to see our tennis fans at the match.  Please join us if you can.

February 28, Smith will be traveling to Bates.  The complete Smith Tennis schedule can be found on http://www.smithpioneers.com/schedule.aspx?path=wten

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Smith Tennis Invites You To Continue To Follow Us

The Smith Tennis Team will stay active with off-court activities throughout the winter.  Fundraising, community service and some fun bonding activities will be a few of the themes during the off season.  Check in every so often to see what we are up to.  Thanks for following us this fall.
Smith College Tennis Team, Fall 2014