Sunday, October 17, 2010

Final Post on the USTA/ITA Small College Nationals

Wow, what a great event to be a part of.  As I've recently written, Elise and Alyssa played an incredibly gutsy match to get into the main draw and earn three doubles matches against many of the top DIII teams in the country.  You can check the ITA website for all the scores and info but a quick recap had us up against the back to back NCAA Doubles champs from U of Chicago.  On paper,this was our best match because in losing 6-2,6-2 we got more games than any other DIII team this week as they rolled to the championship.  While we learned a ton and give them full credit (they are an outstanding doubles team and carry themselves very well), there were times we could have executed better or had a little bit more energy.  The consolation semis was against the 4th seeded Washington and Lee team and after taking 2-0 leads in both sets, they stepped up to get us 6-2,6-3.  This match was much more competitive than the score indicates with lots of outstanding points and games, overall it was super fun doubles with great play and intensity.  The 7th/8th match pitted us against the Gusties from Gustavus Adolphus College and they were the only women's team I observed in any of the draws (DII, DIII, JuCo, NAIA) that consistently got both players to the net.  This tested our defense and provided some strategic breakthoughs for Twich and ShoPo who came off the court feeling good about how they played and how close the match actually was, but even better about where their tennis is going.

The whole week was super fun and for some of our travel adventures and a terrific recap of the best match I saw all week and one of the best DIII doubles matches I've ever seen, check out our Men's team recap at Coach Jeff Northam's blog .  As Jeff says, it is rare that we get to travel together or watch each other play, but the community at Whitman is so strong and our teams truly enjoy spending time together so it was an incredible experience for us to spend time with Coach Jeff, Conor and Andrew (and we learned a few things about great doubles).

Personally, it was also nice to see three of the DIII programs in Mobile represented by coaches who attended my alma mater, UC Santa Cruz.  I can never say enough how wonderful DIII tennis is when programs are run by terrific coaches like Jeff and my coach Bob Hansen.  Thanks Bob for helping me and creating such a terrific culture of tennis and life.

So, alas, we are now in our off season, but before leaving for Alabama I had some terrific individual meetings and while we'll all enjoy some time to focus on the other aspects of college life, I suspect that much of the team will be hard at work to come out strong in the Spring!

My best to all,

Oh yes, Alyssa Elise and I flew out of New Orleans so we had a small amount of time to explore the crescent city and cap an incredible week with even more fun.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Nationals Loss to Defending NCAA Champs

After winning yesterday's play in match in thrilling fashion, today Elise and Alyssa took on the daunting task of playing the 2 time defending NCAA doubles champs from U of Chicago.  They are a great tandem and while we had some promising tennis overall and did some things well, they were just too much today.  It is definitely a learning experience and we have a short turnaround to apply those lessons with a consolation match tomorrow afternoon.

We're enjoying great weather, warm but not too humid and some awesome tennis here in the south.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

First match in Alabama sends Elise and Alyssa to the main draw

Hello from Mobile, Alabama.

There are some very excited Whitties here in the south as we fought through a very tough UT Tyler doubles team today in the Northwest/Southwest play in match at the Small College Nationals.  The format for doubles here is two out of three sets with a super tie break (to 10) for the third.

UTT came out blazing with big returns and volleys to break us right off the bat and then held to go up 2-0.  From there Elise served a great game and we held for 1-2 and they held for 1-3.  The next game found us down a break and 0-40.  I'm not sure I know quite what happened besides ShoPo and Twitch just stepped up, they fought back and held for 2-3, then ran off 4 straight games for the first set 6-3.

The momentum continued in the second, going up 2-0, but swung back to put us down 2-3.  from there we traded games to 3-4 and went down 3-5.  After bringing it back to 4-5 our Texas opponents finished the set strong 6-4 to send the match to a 10 point tie break for the right to play 3 more matches this week in Mobile.

As was the theme of the match, momentum continued with UTT going up 3-0, then Alyssa answered with a screaming winner and suddenly the momentum was back to us.  Switching at 2-4 it felt like we had it going and we got a lead and held on for the 10-8 win.

Tomorrow at 3pm (CST, 1pm Whitman time), we take on the back to back defending national NCAA champs from University of Chicago and we can't wait!

Articles are on the Whitman site, and our men's team played some terrific tennis which you should read about there, the doubles was right after us and was inspiring to see that level with only 2 breaks of serve the entire match (3 tie breaks!!!).

More tomorrow from Mobile...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Off to Alabama Tomorrow for Small College Nationals

It is a quiet weekend here at Whitman as the campus is on our 4-day fall break.  The long weekend gives students a chance to rest, study, do some traveling and activities etc.  Some of the team has gone home or to visit friends, others have done outdoor program trips or are staying on campus.

Two of those Whitties on campus are Elise and Alyssa, who as Northwest Regional USTA/ITA champions head to Mobile, Alabama tomorrow for the Small College National Championships.

We travel on Tuesday and play Wednesday at noon central time (10amPST) in a play in match against a duo from University of Texas, Tyler.  The winner advances to play on Thursday and Friday.

I'll keep you all updated and am so thrilled that these two have earned the honor to play in Alabama!