Monday, October 15, 2012

Another step forward for Whitman Tennis

If you've been reading the posts the past few days, you know that our fall season has been terrific.  As a team we not only enjoyed wonderful weeks of practice, but also our most successful fall regional ever.  This culminated in Alyssa and Courtney heading to Mobile, AL for the USTA/ITA small college national championships.  After a close play in loss in singles, our top doubles team won their first two matches to earn a spot in the national semifinal, which as far as I know ties the furthest a Whitman women's doubles teams has been in a national championship and that was in 1988 when Lynn Greer and Steph Turner finished 3rd at NCAA's!
Alyssa and Courtney in Mobile - 4th in the Nation!

An action shot from Regionals 
Describing the matches brings both pride and some frustration as we were so close in the semi losing 4-6,6-4,10-8.  In this match, as well as we played, Alyssa and Courtney keep setting a higher and higher standard for their doubles and it was tough to fall short even though the effort was tremendous.   After two days of holding serve regularly, building points and finishing them extremely well; the team from Washington and Lee did a great job on returns and keeping the points on their terms.  On the other hand, our duo competed as they always do and did a terrific job themselves of returning and being aggressive to put pressure on the Generals.  While this match easily could have gone either way, and we'll learn a lot from it of how to take the next step for our top doubles duo.  As frustrating as this loss was, Alyssa and Courtney represented our team, Whitman, the Northwest Conference and the West region with stellar play, 100% effort and outstanding sportsmanship.

The second match of the day had even better tennis, but the 4th seeded team from Williams was totally on their game after falling 10-8 in a match tie break to the eventual champions from Emory.  Williams played as a team really well and just executed shots better than us today. So even in losing, the tennis was really great to watch.

Back home in Walla Walla, I couldn't feel better about the wonderful character, work ethic, talent and leadership we have on this team.  We took a big step forward claiming 4th at a national tournament last week, and the drive is there for us to continue moving in the right direction as we pursue our team goals in Spring.  Congratulations to Alyssa and Courtney on leading the way, and thanks so much to our men's team and their parents for cheering in our matches and to Jeff for taking some photos as well as letting us play some disc golf with them!.  Also, this trip was helped by amazing Whitman alum Deborah Hazelgrove and her family who hosted us in Seattle so we could take a cheaper flight.

That's all for the fall, but I'm sure I'll be reaching out again soon as Whitman is always so active and our players are doing great things off the court as well as on.

Best wishes to all!

Courtney and Alyssa at the Banquet