Monday, October 12, 2009

More than meets the eye - Elise Otto and Flow Inflation

This post is to recognize another academic achievement by a Whitman tennis player. You may know Elise Otto for becoming the first singles All-American at Whitman since 1988, for being a two time all NWC selection, for being named Whitman's most outstanding performer as a sophomore. But to those of us in Walla Walla, Twitchy is so much more than a tennis player.

I could list the multiple activities and accomplishments she has off the court, but I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that after a summer doing field and lab research this year, Elise is presenting that research at the annual Geological Society of America this weekend in Portland, OR. Her work involved going out into the summer heat in Eastern Washignton to collect samples which then had to be taken back to the lab for chemical analysis followed by statistics. She really got to know microsoft excel this summer and here is her abstract which you can find at

Great work Elise!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Final Fall ITA wrapup

With only one match to recap, I'll start there and move to the important stuff after.

Our doubles semi was a great test against two extremely talented Willamette players and after trading leads and breaks early, we were up 4-3 before a turn in momentum saw us trailing 6-4. At this point, Div and Alyssa held there composure and played a tremendous game to break serve. We came out firing on Div's service game going up 40-15 and from that point on the level of tennis from both teams was very good, but Willamette definitely stepped up to earn the break and hold to finish the match 8-5. As a coach you always want to see the opposition earn a victory, which is what we made them do. At the same time, this early in the season I was sooooooooooo impressed with the potential of these two players in doubles. From last year, I knew that Div has a great all around game and is a force at the net, but this weekend she showed more variety than I saw all last year proving that even players who are already great and experienced can put a smile on their coaches face with their ability to improve. Alyssa has been working on her doubles very hard and in this match she displayed every tool a great doubles player needs and I can't wait to see her use them all consistently.

The big news from the weekend is that in all my years of tennis as a player and coach I have never had so much fun with a team. I'm glad we have been doing so much core strengthening, otherwise we might have a training room full of players with strained abdomens from laughing so hard for so long.

I must also thank again everyone who supported us so well at the tournament and through your distance support. When student athletes work so hard it means a lot for them to know people care about their efforts, so thank from all of us!

Best wishes for a wonderful fall,


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 2 at the Fall ITA

Hello again,

With the consolation canceled due to rain, we began the day with three singles players and two teams left. Everyone played with tremendous effort and skill. Our two seniors both dropped competitive two set matches to seeded players. Hadley was right with Shannon Palmer from Willamette showing her improved movement and ability to build points. After dropping a lopsided first set to #2 seeded Sallie Katter from Linfield, Div remained calm and dug in for a second set battle that saw her up a break before being broken back late and losing a well played tiebreak.

Also in the round of 16, Alyssa took on one of the toughest unseeded players, Alli Marshall who played #2 for defending conference champion Whitworth last year. In a match that showcased Alyssa's terrific offensive baseline game she came away victorious, setting up a clash with top seeded Rachel Burns of Whitworth. Like Hadley and Div, Alyssa battled well and dominated in spells but overall Rachel proved too tough with her steady game and amazing court coverage winning in two close sets.

In doubles, Hadley and Emily suffered from a slow start and a hot Linfield team losing 8-2 in the quarters, though towards the end of the match they displayed their individual and team improvements. Alyssa and Div shook off a slow start themselves to put away a feisty Willamette team setting up a quarterfinal clash with last years finalists and #2 seeded Cat Goya and Megan Yoshimoto of Pacific. I'm not sure I've ever seen such a combination of great doubles and unbridled laughter from 4 players on the court at the same time. In the true spirit of enjoying the game and competition, both teams fought hard to gain the net and pressure the other. It was great to see Div and Alyssa play both good offense and defense as a team as they pulled ahead and won 8-5. This match mimicked the trip we have had so far with great tennis balanced by some of the most fun I've had with any of the tennis teams I've ever been involved with. I only wish I had a good enough command of the English language to explain how fun this team is.

Monday's singles semifinals and finals will be played at Linfield College followed by Div and Alyssa vs. Willamette's top team in the semi's with the finals to follow.

Thanks to the Rolstons, Kaurs, Olsons and Ly's for cheering us on so far and also to those of you who have called/texted or emailed us, the team appreciates all your support.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Update from the Fall ITA

Here is today's update after a wonderful day of tennis. The weather stayed clear, but our thankfully decisive hosts who have run a great event so far made the early call to start indoors in Salem, OR.

The day began with Lauren getting a wake up call as she was entered into the singles draw to replace a sick player. She fought well in her first college match but fell to an experienced Lisa Harunaga from LC. Zoe played brilliant tennis to go up 3-0 on PLU's Ali Burnside before falling in straight sets. Her game has come so far and has plenty of potential to keep going. Charlotte had a tough match and after coming out strong, split sets with Whitworth's Janelle Talbot who took the match tie break for the third. Playing outdoors at Willamette, Amanda fought bravely but couldn't overcome a very tough Erica Bosman from Whitworth. Also outside was the heartbreak of the day as Emily owned last year's #1 player from George Fox for half a set before losing the first, she then re-asserted herself to dominate the second only to lose a close match tie break. Each match was a terrific display of the progress we've already made in this young season and I am thrilled to coach each of these players.

Our only singles player to split matches was an impressive Kate K-P, who won her first round riding a much improved first serve and her signature penetrating groundgame. She then battled #8 seed Mya Towne from Whitworth losing 6-2,6-2 with both sets being very competitive and terrific to watch as two speedy baseliners battled it out mixing consistency with opportunistic offense.

Two themes of the day were 1. Whitworth and 2. Match tie breaks. Hadley won her first match indoors then outside dropped her first set 4-6 to Whitworth's Katie Staudinger before storming through the second set only to find herself down 7-3 then 8-5 in the mtb before stringing together 5 beautiful points full of patience, confidence and terrific finishes to win 10-8. Alyssa Roberg shook off a nervous start to cruise 6-2,6-0 in round one and then she moved on to the round of 16 with a 6-2,6-3 win. Div was similar in her efficiency winning 6-0, 6-2 then 6-4, 6-0.

Doubles were awesome with Dena and Lauren hanging through most of a proset before getting edged by UPS's top team. There is a lot of good tennis ahead for both of these freshmen. Charlotte and Kate teamed up against a Willamette team and had trouble finding consistency, but showed that they too could be a formidable duo dropping their match 7-9.

The teams of Alyssa/Div and Hadley/Emily both cruised past Pacific teams to earn places in the round of 16 tomorrow.

Sunday's play will begin with singles round of 16 indoors in Salem at 8:30 with the quarters to follow and then two rounds of doubles in the afternoon.

The effort, teamwork and enjoyment was amazing today and we're looking to stay strong tomorrow.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wilson/Fall ITA Regional Draws Released - click here for draws; link should work from blog if not directly from email

Whitman is bringing a full contingent of 10 players to the Fall regional championships.

The 64 draw of singles has 8 Whitties playing 2 out of 3 sets with a match tie break for the 3rd up to the semifinals. First year Whittie Alyssa Roberg was awarded the #5 seed and Hadley, Div, Emily, Amanda, Charlotte, Kate and Zoe will also compete in singles, which has an opt in first round consolation draw.

The 32 draw of doubles includes 4 Whittie teams playing 8 game pro-sets. The team of Div and Alyssa was grouped in the 5-8 seeds, while Em and Had look to build on their terrific play and chemistry from last season. Charlotte and Amanda will battle a talented Willamette team in the first round while first year teammates Dena and Lauren take on the top team from UPS. Unfortunately, there is no consolation draw for doubles planned.

The tournament host in Linfield College, but it has been decided that Saturday's play will begin at 8am in Salem, OR using indoor courts at both Courthouse and Salem Swim and Tennis and outdoor courts at Willamette (if dry). Hopefully, Sunday and Monday are dry and the tournament will conclude in McMinnville at Linfield and the nearby Cowls St. courts.

We are staying in Salem and I'll send another update when match times come my way as well as posting twitter score updates on the blog during the tournament (a wonderful idea that I must credit Whitman Coach Jeff N. with).