Monday, January 24, 2011

First match of the year

Hello everyone and welcome to a new dual match season of Whitman Women's tennis.  Some of you may have seen the twitter updates or followed the scores online through our website  as we traveled to Cheney, WA yesterday for the opening match of the season with the DI Eagles.

To be honest, I wasn't totally sure what to expect from my own team, much less EWU, so all in all I was very pleased with how we played even though we were swept 7-0 on the scoreboard.  We had 3 players in their first dual match (Hannah, Leah and Maggie) and three more players stepping out for their first college match (Hadley, Lizzy and Olivia).  So, while we were very excited going in, there were a lot of unknowns.

I must say that while we could have played better tennis, the focus, effort, and enjoyment of competing hard and supporting each other were all terrific.  Take absolutely nothing from Coach Silha and the Eastern Squad, they are very good up and down the lineup and every time we got even the tiniest bit of momentum going, they turned it back around, so it is always fun to play such focused determined opponents even when the score is lopsided.

We played four doubles matches and on all 4 courts we got down a quick 3-0 before playing fairly evenly at 1-3, and making the points and games more competitive at 4.  Notable to the action was Kate and Em both holding in the middle of the proset showing their ability to control points from the start as well as scrap them out.  At three, Hannah and Leah were setting each other up in a competitive match that forced the EWU team to elevate their game to win.  Four dubs was definitely a learning opportunity, but I have very clear images of Hadley putting the ball away and Lizzy finding her spots with her potent groundstrokes.

Singles had some very lopsided scores with Emily and Kate both playing very high level tennis, but neither one consistently enough to trouble their opponents.  Elise started off toe to toe in the first set Alyssa displayed both the development of her game and strength.

5 and 6 were wonderful surprises as Lizzy really was able to dictate a lot of points and stay very poised in long rallies against an opponent who had and used a terrific variety of shots.  Hannah was down a set and break before she dialed in her game and used her great feel and punishing shots to battle to a 0-6,3-6 score.  We may have seen a tiny glimpse of the future of Whitman tennis in that second set.  The day rounded out in two 8 game pro-set exhibitions with both Maggie and Olivia falling 8-0.  It's a tough ask for these young players, but while they both would have like to have pushed the score a bit more, I am so proud of the way they carried themselves and worked to the final ball; it will be lots of fun to see what the future holds for each of them.

Overall, it was a big ask by me to step into this match after just a short week of school after the winter break, but we saw great indications of where we are and where we can be with some hard work.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scholar, about both

Paola Vizcaino Suarez, from Metepec, Mexico, amassed a ton of on court recognition while playing for coach Heidi Tate from 2000-2004 (she missed her junior year while studying in France on a High Academic Achievement Scholarship).  I remember being an assistant coach at UC Santa Cruz and hearing about this Whitman player who was tearing up the Northwest.  Among other honors, Paola was a three time first team All conference selection, the Whitman Senior Athlete of the Year (Mignon Borleske Award), and was voted  NWC player of the year in two of her three playing seasons.

I won't even delve into the depths of Paola's academic achievements, which include earning Academic All-District honors and co-founding the student group on campus, Alliance for Workplace Justice. Click here for more of her academic achievements at Whitman.

It is her work at Whitman in this field with Associate Professor of Politics Paul Apostolidis which recently culminated in a book on immigrant labor, "Breaks in the Chain: What Immigrant Workers Can Teach America about Democracy" which was published in August 2010.  You can read about the book here and if you're wondering if Paola has rested on her laurels since graduating from Whitman, the answer is no.

After obtaining a master's iTourism Planning and Management at the University of Alicante in southeastern Spain, Paola is now enjoying married life in Spain as she expands her tourism consulting business and learns the official language of Galicia (I think this will make 4 languages for Paola!).  Thanks to Paola for sharing and catching up on what she's been doing, it is so fun for me to learn more about our program's history and I hope you enjoy hearing about it as well because I hope to share more stories as I get to know more alums.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wine Camp Dates Announced

I'm happy to announce a new fundraiser for Whitman Tennis.  I wish I could take credit for the idea because it is a terrific one, but men's coach Jeff Northam along with noon hour lefty extraordinaire Tom Sawatzki and the help of living coaching legend Greg Patton, are the team that deserve the credit.

I've put a link on the blog with our camp flyer, so if you know tennis and wine enthusiasts (or are one yourself!), then this first annual camp promises to be super fun on and off the court.  There will be tennis, wine tasting, great food...I'm so excited for it.