The Bates women’s tennis team has put together an impressive start to their season, with a 6-1 record so far. Their only loss was to Pomona-Pitzer, and since that match they have rattled off five straight wins. For their season opener, the Bobcats traveled to Chapman University in Orange, California and came back to Maine with a 7-2 victory to drive the rest of their season. Also in California, the women earned an impressive 8-1 win at Cal Lutheran. Back in New England to begin their March competitions, the Bobcats dominated the NEWMAC teams, defeating Mt. Holyoke and Wheaton by scores of 6-3 and sweeping Smith College 9-0.
On their early success, Captain Maisie Silverman ’18 says, “I did not anticipate that we would be 6-1 at the start of the season, mainly because we have had various injuries that have affected our lineup. However, I am not surprised at all. This group of girls are such fierce competitors who are competing not only for themselves in their single matches but for the team. By controlling the controllable, the girls on the team have been able to persevere and encourage each other through various adversities.”
Silverman also stated the main goals for the season. The first is “to go out to every match, regardless of who we are playing and compete and fight for every point.” The second: “Transform our team culture—we fight for each other and leave everything out on the courts for our teammates. If we have left everything on the court and haven’t focused on the outcome, we will improve and become better tennis players and teammates throughout the season.”
So far, these goals have paid off. In the most recent match, the women defeated Hamilton in their first NESCAC matchup 9-0. A standout performance in this match came from the doubles duo of Lauren Hernandez ’20 and Hannah Sweeney ’21, who notched a 8-1 victory. Silverman says of the two, “First-year Hannah Sweeney continues to stand out—her mental toughness, fight, and competitiveness have led her to multiple wins in both singles and doubles. Also, Lauren Hernandez has stepped up her fearlessness at the net and has helped create a dynamic duo doubles team with Hannah and Lauren.” Silverman also praised the impressive play of Suzanne Elfman ’20, while noting that in addition to these individuals “Everyone on the team has stepped up this season. There are several girls who have gone above and beyond especially with unexpected injures that have affected some of the players in the top of the lineup.”
Ultimately, the team has embraced “When we compete, we are difficult to beat” as their mantra, says Silverman. In her words, “I feel like this has shown in various ways throughout the season, and it is just the beginning!” With such an impressive start to the season, the team seems poised for big things as the season rolls on. In the coming weeks, the women will play some high-stakes NESCAC matchups, many at home, so be sure to check out a match as the team looks to continue their winning streak. First, however, they will be on the road this coming weekend, with matchups against Case Western Reserve, Swarthmore, and Washington & Lee on a trip to Fredericksburg, Virginia.