In its season opener, the No. 8 Tufts Women’s tennis team (1–0) defeated NESCAC rival Trinity in Hartford, Conn., comfortably winning 8–1 on Saturday afternoon.
The Jumbos’ doubles players dominated the court, with all three pairs winning their respective matches. The No. 2 doubles pair sophomore Kiara Rose and first-year Nicole Frankel swiftly defeated their opponents, doubles pair sophomore Lily Everett and senior co-captain Janie Weber of Trinity, 8–1. The No. 1 doubles, first-years Maggie Dorr and Caroline Garrido, won 8–2. Last on deck were first-year Anna Lowy and sophomore Patricia Obeid in the No. 3 position, who won 8–3.
“I think our doubles team are really what motivated us and jump-started us into the match,” Dorr said. “We came into the match with so much energy and we started off really strong, winning all three matches.”
The singles players shone with five of six players picking up victories. First, Garrido, in the No. 3 position for Tufts, defeated Trinity junior Krista Jiranek (6–0, 6–1). In the No. 1 game, Dorr posted an impressive 6–1, 6–2 victory over first-year Marta Drausnik. Dorr’s match clinched the Jumbos’ victory over the Bantams as it marked the fifth win of the day.
The Jumbos’ roster consists mostly of first-years — four of the nine players matriculated this fall — who were high-end recruits like Dorr. The season opener puts the common belief that first-years tend to be inexperienced into question.
“We have a very young team this year; four out of our six players [who played] are [first-years], so it was nice to have a new team dynamic,” Obeid said. “Going into the game, we had a slight disadvantage on doubles because the freshmen have less experience playing upperclassmen. Ultimately, we held it together and … we won all three of our doubles matches.”
The Manhattan native also analyzed Dorr’s outstanding performance. The first-year plays in the No. 1 position, a rarity in competitive college tennis.
“Maggie Dorr is a very aggressive player and mentally focused, which is very important,” Dorr said. “She was very patient, playing out each point to the best of her ability. Also, she played with a lot of strategy, placing the ball all over the court so that she got her opponents to move around.”
Obeid, the No. 2 singles player for the Jumbos, fought hard against her opponent, junior Julia Brogan, but ultimately fell in three sets (4–6, 6–4, 10–6). Aside from the single loss, the Jumbos swept the singles deck with wins by Rose at No. 4 (6–1, 6–0), Lowy at No. 5 (6–3, 6–3) and Frankel at No. 6 (8–5).
Although the unranked Bantams were categorically a weaker team, the Jumbos did not let their guard down; they treated the match like any other. Obeid gave a little insight into the team mentality before stepping onto the court to play Trinity.
“We beat Trinity pretty badly last year, so we had optimism going into the game, but we did not underestimate them by any means,” Obeid said. “We just had to play our game like we usually do.”
The team has had a hard workout regimen in preparation for the Trinity game as well as for the entire spring season.
“We spent many hours in Gantcher [Center], spending a total 12 hours combined during Friday, Saturday and Sunday training and working out. But we have also been resting when we need to and taking care of our bodies,” Obeid added.
While most of us will be adjourning to our homes and sleeping for a week straight, the tennis team will travel to sun-kissed California to play four different matches over spring break.
“It’s really refreshing to play in another area and playing against schools that are outside our conference. We’re really excited for that,” Obeid said.
Their busy itinerary begins with a match against the Redlands Bulldogs in Redlands, Calif. The Jumbos will journey to the South California Consortium, facing last year’s Div. III champions, the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas. Tufts anticipates an exciting match against the Athenas, hoping to avenge last year’s heart-breaking 5–4 loss.
The Jumbos continue to Whittier College where they face No. 4 NESCAC rivals Williams, a semifinalist in last year’s Div. III NCAA tournament. The Ephs toppled the Jumbos in both matches during last year’s spring season. In the first match, the Ephs won 8–1 in April and then swept the Jumbos 5–0 in the NESCAC tournament semifinal in May. The team’s Southern California rendezvous closes at Claremont, Calif. where they face No. 4 Pomona-Pitzer.
Dorr gave the Daily her spin on their team’s trip to the Golden State.
“I think it’s going to go really well,” Dorr said. “Our biggest competitor will be Williams; they’re a really strong team and when we played them in the fall they had really good competitors.”