The women’s tennis team knew that this weekend’s competitors at the Maryland Invitational in College Park were supposed to be bigger and better. But that didn’t seem to bother the Bulldogs one bit.
Facing major programs like Duke, Maryland, Washington State, LSU, Notre Dame and West Virginia, the Elis appeared fearless as they turned in several impressive performances.
Captain Olivia Nix ’07, who played confident tennis en route to winning the C flight singles title, felt the team went into this weekend’s competition with the right demeanor.
“Our team attitude was totally to compete well, to go out there and not be satisfied and not be intimidated,” Nix said.
Nix also teamed up with Rashmee Patil ’07 to capture the consolation title in A flight doubles. Patil and Nix defeated teammates Aimee Kim ’07 and Janet Kim ’09 in the consolation finals, a match Nix said was unusually lighthearted.
“It was a lot of fun because we were able to joke around a lot,” Nix said.
Janet Kim also advanced to the consolation finals of the A flight singles, falling to Notre Dame’s Lauren Connelly 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in her match on Sunday.
Kim was not the only freshman who played well. Ashley Miles ’09 lost in the B flight singles quarterfinals but went on to win the consolation bracket to finish third overall by beating Neda Mihneva of the University of Maryland, 6-4, 3-6, 10-6.
Miles, who said she was pleased with her performance, said she felt that she and the team played very well against the impressive competition.
“I thought I personally played very well,” Miles said. “Our coaches kept saying that our goal going into this weekend was that we shouldn’t just try to compete with the teams there, but that we should be able to win. I think we represented ourselves well.”
In addition to Miles and Kim, fellow freshmen Karolina Grygierowska and Lilian Nguyen played well, pairing up to finish fourth in the C flight doubles draw.
Facing such strong individual competition was an appropriate test as the team prepares for its next tournament, the USTA Team Invitational, to be held in two weeks in New York City.
Nix said that she expects the field will be even stronger than the Maryland Invitational’s, giving players a chance to quickly turn heads by excelling in big matches.
“The USTA Team Invitational is going to be a great opportunity to play against some nationally-ranked players and pick up some big wins,” she said.
Given this weekend’s stellar performances, the Bulldogs appear to be on the right track heading into the USTA Team Invitational.
Christina Cutter ’09, who finished third in C flight singles, said that the Maryland Invitational helped foster personal and team confidence that will be useful against future big-name foes.
“It was really good to see that level of competition so early,” she said. “This weekend made us realize that we have the ability to compete with the best teams around, and that we will.”