As the fall sports season gets under way, many Bates teams have already played several games even though classes have only been in session for three weeks.
Bates Men’s and Women’s tennis are no exception, and this year both teams have already achieved something by bringing in six men and six women to the team after only bringing three women and no men last year.
Tennis is one of the unique sports at Bates that can be considered a year-round sport. Tournaments are usually played in the fall to get everyone in the NESCAC playing again, winter is for training trips to sunnier areas and keeping in shape, and finally spring is when individual matches with schools occur to help determine which schools will go to the NESCAC conference championship.
The first years on the men’s side have already proven their capability as seen in the men’s opening tournament, the Middlebury Invitational, held three weekends ago.
First-years Nick Forester ‘23 and Cameron Kania ‘23 both advanced to the quarterfinals of their respective singles. Their achievement is also an improvement from last year where no men were able to advance to the quarterfinals in their singles set.
When asked about how the season and tournaments have been going so far Forester responded with, “Tennis has been a lot of fun, as well as a lot of work so far, and I have really enjoyed it . . . It’s awesome to be able to play and represent the school and team with all of your teammates cheering you on. It is a great atmosphere and I have really enjoyed it so far and am looking forward to playing more.”
The first years on the women’s side have also excited captain Suzie Elfman ‘20, “We have a lot of depth on our team this year and a lot of extremely skilled players so I am excited to watch everyone bring it to the next level!”
The women’s opening tournament, the Wallach Doubles Invitational was held two weekends ago and hosted teams such as Colby and Bowdoin who both only brought in two first year women. Since, Wallach is the first tournament Bates women play in the fall season Elfman said that, “The most important part about the Wallach tournament is having good energy on court. With so many teams coming to compete it’s a really exciting weekend! My hopes for the weekend were to come out with intensity and have fun with my teammates on the court.”
On the warm, sunny Saturday when the tournament was held, it was clear that the women were enjoying their time together as music blasted during warm ups and cheers of “Let’s go Cats” could be heard as matches were played.
“These early tournaments are especially important for first-year students as they adjust to the transition from high school to college tennis. It also helps with team bonding as a lot of first years can be shy so the tournaments gives lots of opportunities for cheering and watching teammates compete,” said Hayley Neighmond ‘22.
The women had several wins in the first round of doubles including partners Anna Rozin ‘22 and Haley Washington ‘21, who also competed this past weekend at the ITA New England Championships.
The men also played this tournament where Leo Kupferman ‘23, another first year on the men’s team, was able to advance in his respective single. Kupferman and Kania also defeated opponents from Colby in the first round of doubles play at the tournament as well.
On the women’s side Bates seniors Isabelle Rovinski ‘20 and Lauren Hernandez ‘20 had doubles victory at championships, but lost in their next round.
Though it is still early in the season for these teams, it can already be seen that the first years have added a much needed energy to a team that was mostly made up of upperclassmen. It will be interesting to see how these athletes perform in the later fall season, but also further down the road in the coming spring when they get to NESCAC play.