Archive for February, 2009

23
Feb
09

Tampa- Day 6

We will be featuring a section on this blog called “Meet the Bobcats.” The hope is that you will be able to get to know members of both teams a little bit better through a short interview. For the first installment, you will meet two freshman who will be making an impact this season. Here is what they had to say.

 

Interview with Erika:

 erikaerika1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Question: Where are you from and where did you go to high school?

Erika: Hope, ME- Camden Hills Regional High School

 Q:  What did you like most about high school that you don’t have in college?

 E:   My dogs

 Q:  What is the best thing about college so far? The worst?

 E:   Commons food/ the people… worst= timed mile

 Q:  Favorite tennis team moment so far?

 E:  Playing Catch Phrase in the van ride back from Newitts.

 Q: Why you love Bates?

 E:  Jeffrey Beaton.

 Q: What do you hope the team accomplishes this season?

 E:  Making it to NESCACs!

 Q: What is your top personal goal for this season?

 E:  Enjoying the struggle

 Q: Favorite Commons meal or dish?

 E:  Chicken Parm

 Q: Yankees or Red Sox?

 E:  RED SOX

 Q: Creamy or Crunchy Peanut Butter?

 E:  creamy

Interview with Jeff:

 jeff

Question: Where are you from and where did you go to high school?

Jeff: Haverhill, MA Pentucket Regional High School/ The Loomis Chaffee School

Q: What did you like most about high school that you don’t have in college?

J: Having my car and eating home cooked meals

Q: What is the best thing about college so far? The worst?

J: The best part is all of my friends that I have met, and commons food! The worst part would probably be my econ class first semester.

Q: Favorite tennis team moment so far?

J: Finally getting to play after being injured, and hanging out with the team in our mansion in Florida

Q: Why you love Bates?

J: Erika Blauth…

Q: What do you hope the team accomplishes this season?

J: A NESCAC Championship

Q: What is your top personal goal for this season?

J: Working hard aka enjoying the struggle, and also working on coming forward to the net more.

Q: Favorite Commons meal or dish?

J: Chix Parm and Sundae Sundays

Q: Yankees or Red Sox?

J: RED SOX

Q: Creamy or Crunchy Peanut Butter?

J: Creamy

hands

 

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22
Feb
09

Tampa- Day 5

It is said that Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, well the Cats decided to take it a day early. Unlike the normal wave of players coming down the stairs for breakfast early in the morning on practice days, it was more like a slow drip this morning as one by one each player made their way to see what they could find in the fridge to start the day. With most of the week being focused on the athlete part of “student-athlete,” much of this day was devoted to the student half. Although the heads were buried inside books, papers, and problem sets, everyone found a way to enjoy another sunny, clear day knowing we only have a few left.

studypool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is always easier to study outside, or even between dips in the pool. Late in the morning most of the Cats could be found sunning themselves next to the pool, half studying, half watching Sherman dodge the pool cleaning machine during his daily laps. After lunch it was time to add some sand to the sun as we headed to the beach in Clearwater. The water certainly was clear, but a little too cold to swim in, so relaxing on the beach would have to do. Restlessness sat in after a few hours in the sun and we decided to explore the local shops. What we came upon was certainly unexpected, yet so simple. It could be described as tasty, delicious, even heavenly. But what truly best described what was found in a small bakery this afternoon was challenging.

smilesherm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was not just an ordinary chocolate chip cookie; this was a half-pound masterpiece. Yes, a half-pound cookie meant for a few people as a scrumptious dessert. Three of these cookies found their way back to our house, but they had no intention of being shared amongst the team. They were meant to test the team’s most accomplished competitive eater. Sam, who usually specializes in dominating burger challenges, found a daunting dessert task ahead of him. He would have to eat the monster of all ice cream sandwiches, three half-pound chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream in between each. Sam had plenty of people willing to help him through this journey, but after a valiant effort for almost an hour he could no longer continue through the maze of sugar and sweets, leaving just a few crumbs on the plate.

dessertbite 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A day off the courts should hopefully re-energize the team to work hard for the two days we have left here. Tonight’s dessert challenge might not have been a team effort, but the success of this season certainly will be. The journey starts back again tomorrow morning, and Sam will have the rest of the Cats to share it with this time. 

21
Feb
09

Tampa- Day 4

After a late night, it was back to the courts for the Bobcats on Friday morning. The plan was to have a little bit different practice than the previous days. Here are two players’ accounts of the morning:

Words from Adam:

Practice today had a completely different feel.  We started the day as usual, warming up and getting all of our strokes in to loosen up after a long night of tennis but the day did not end as we had all thought it would.  Our coaches provided us with a lesson and teaching on positive attitude after either losing a point or winning a point.  The lesson started off serious and ended serious however, there were certain aspects of the practice that brought a new light to playing tennis as a team.  The exercise was meant to be a team building experience that allowed us to use a strong positive attitude to motivate our teammates and ourselves in order to win the end prize.

 charrj

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being a junior this particular practice meant a lot to me.  Involving both the men’s and women’s team in a mixed doubles tournament was a great way to not only build team camaraderie but also improve different doubles skills from each other.  The cheering from my teammates and the enthusiasm was really something to experience.  I feel like it really helped bring this team closer together as a whole.  The idea of bringing a new and exciting aspect to the game while still learning an important lesson just helped us to build as a team.

amritrs 

 

 

 

 

 

After last season, especially for the men, missing out on regionals and possibly nationals our team really became close.  Today just helped show what kind of team we were and how close we have become over the past three years.  Even the freshmen have made a strong presence and difference on this team.

 

az

Words from Caryn:

 It all started just 9 hours after a grueling wait for my rubber eggs and tasteless pancakes at Denny’s.  Alex, Jean, Taylor and I had some difficulty rising this morning due to last night’s food extravaganza, unaware of the memories this particular day of Bobcat tennis would bring.  Despite the tired faces and cold breeze, our warm up was fairly standard.  While rallying back and forth with Alex, I was trying to speculate as to the plan for today’s practice.  To my great surprise, our sly and innovative coaches had decided that something different would fare today: a mixed doubles competition created to instill positivity and team camaraderie into our match-play mentality, a competition that turned into an all out war of sorts.  We were split up into two teams and each had to play an 8 game doubles pro-set.  But the catch was that even if one team had won more matches, the other team could still win through positive body language and team spirit.  Somewhere between a speedy water break and some inspirational words from Coach, I turned into Reiss’ worst nightmare before 8 am as I maxed out my vocal chords cheering on my team.  The events that ensued here on out were by far the most thrilling of my Bates tennis career.  Our voices were heard well beyond the tennis courts of Hillsborough Community College as those of us who were most reserved quickly joined in the battle of voices.  Perhaps the most memorable moment of the day for many of us was my painful (and very awkward) screech of yearning for Sherman to unleash his inner beast, as I screamed at the top of my lungs down 5 courts, SHERMAN I CAN’T HEAR YOU!?  Unfortunately, my efforts were made ever more awkward as my voice failed to reach the last court to inform Sherman of my demand.  The conclusion of today’s practice left me with a bittersweet taste in my mouth as to the future of Bates tennis; a family I was so happy to be a part of, yet so sad to think of leaving in a few months.  One thing did occur to me today that eased the heartache of not always being a member of Bobcat tennis- that perhaps I had underestimated the eternal power of Bobcat pride.

 45

Today’s practice might not have matched the physical intensity as those earlier in the week, but the experiences that Adam and Caryn write about will help this team reach the new heights we strive for everyday. 

20
Feb
09

Tampa- Day 3

bridge

When the Bobcats woke to the rustling of leaves and the highlights of the morning SportsCenter show, little did they know the day would end late in the evening with a little midnight breakfast at Denny’s. The plan was for both teams to practice at the normal time in the morning, and then head to St. Petersburg so the men could take on Eckerd College after lunch. The morning was a windy, grey one that made striking a clean ball a little difficult. Luckily, we were able to get in a full practice before the rain coming off the Gulf of Mexico arrived during lunch. Unfortunately, this would mean the men’s match would be postponed until later in the afternoon.

 dubs

Once the rain subsided, we headed across the bay for a 5:30pm start time under the lights against the DII Tritons. Ryan and Max were locked in a struggle at the #1 spot while Amrit and Jeff at #2 were dominating even though it was their first time together as doubles partners. Reiss and Adam were the first off with a convincing win at #3 doubles, shortly followed by Amrit and Jeff. There was plenty of time to cheer on the #1 guys, since their eight game pro-set took over an hour. The Cats were just a few inches away from taking a commanding 3-0 lead, but could not pull out the tiebreak. This meant they would have their work cut out for them in the singles, luckily the guys were ready to step up to the challenge.

amrit group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Reiss was busy winning 9 straight games to start his match, Amrit was facing a big serving, hard hitting Triton at the #1 spot. It took him over a set, but eventually he started to attack the serve with even bigger returns and found himself getting the team its fourth team point after a solid mental performance in the third set. Ryan, playing #3, was able to look down the courts and realize the opportunity he had after Reiss and Amrit earned the team’s third and fourth point respectively. In a close match that had plenty of ups and downs, Ryan was able to find a way to be up a break in the third set. He knew to enjoy the struggle of the moment, understanding if he came out on top he could treat himself to a piece carrot cake after the match. He would eventually get his piece of cake.

c&rJeff was the last match on the court after a quick win by Sherman, and for Jeff it would be a memorable one. Playing in his first college dual match, he stepped up to show his teammates and weary fans what he plans to bring to the court every match for the next four years. Fighting himself during some points throughout the match, which eventually ended after 10:30pm, he battled to a victory in the third set match tiebreak. As happy as everyone was for Jeff, warmth and food were on the minds of most as we traveled back across the long bay bridge.

dennysThe bright yellow light of the Denny’s sign illuminated the night’s sky, answer the call of numerous noisy stomachs. What the Cats didn’t know was this would be the toughest mental test of the week so far, as the wait for our food passed into Friday morning. One by one, the plates of food arrived, only to have a personal cleaning by a Bobcat. Day 3 in Tampa finally came to close as Sam finished his last pancake and everyone was able to head home satisfied. Getting the first win of the season was as sweet as a slice of Denny’s carrot cake. 

19
Feb
09

Tampa- Day 2

Our second full day in Tampa started just as the previous, with early morning breakfast before practice at 9:30am. Only this morning breakfast almost didn’t happen when the first Cats to make their way to the kitchen realized the dishes hadn’t been washed the night before, making bowls and spoons hard to come by. Along with the dishes, the milk was running out only to be saved by a last minute Publix run by Coach Gastonguay. Once the milk arrived everyone was able to have their cereal even if they had to eat it with a large cooking spoon or out of a mug.

 milk

Now that breakfast was over the players could concentrate on practice, more doubles work for both the men and women. It was important for the women to prepare themselves for the match later in the day versus Hillsborough CC, while the men’s doubles combinations are still a mystery. Both teams had their best practice of the short season, but coming at a good time with each teams first match coming up.

 

As the sun rose high in the sky, it was the Bobcat women who were heating up the court in doubles play against host HCC. Taking down the defending NJCAA National Champion Hawks would be no easy task, but the intensity and focus was there for us from the start. Starting off on a winning note was Alex and Jean at #3 doubles, followed by Brooke and Erika at the #2 spot. With Erika’s big time serving game and that aggressive volleying Brooke is known for, their opponents were barely able to get anything going. After the three doubles matches, we were up 2-1, just the start we needed.

jean1

 

In singles, Jean must have wanted to cheer her teammates on more than play because she was off the court before anyone else had finished their first set, getting the win at the #6 spot. As the rest of the team battled hard deep into their second set, Meg was busy getting the Cat’s fifth point, clinching the first victory of the season for the Bates women. (Post match interview to be posted at a later date).

e&b

 

Caryn, playing #1, played one of the best matches of her career against a very talented opponent. As the sun dropped in the sky, Caryn drilled forehands moving her athletic adversary corner to corner as the match eventually moved to night. Both ladies kept the crowd on the edge of their seats playing outstanding tennis with the HCC #1 coming out on top in a tiebreak in the second set. Though not everyone was able to be victorious today, the team win was the goal and it felt good to get the first win of the 2009 season.

 

Members of the men’s and women’s teams did a great job cheering on their housemates through the three hour match. This enthusiasm on and off the court will hopefully help us reach our goals this season. The most notable fan was Reiss, who not only cheered for the Cats, but made time to support some of the Hawks as well.

fanwteam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18
Feb
09

Tampa-Day 1

After an early, New England morning for both Bobcat teams, everyone was happy to see the bright Florida sun as they stepped off the plane in Tampa on Monday. The men and women traveled to the tennis capital of the world to endure several tough practices, matches, and more than one sunburn. Having spent the last few months hitting on the indoor courts of Merrill Gym, it was certainly an adjustment for the players dealing with the wind, sun, and fast courts.

yankees1

Under the shadow of both the Yankees’ Steinbrenner Stadium as well as the Big Sombrero where the Super Bowl was just held a few shorts weeks ago, the Cats had a tiring, but valuable few hours of practice. The women had little time to waste with their first match against NJCAA National Champion Hillsborough Community College coming on Wednesday afternoon.  With the morning session focusing more on singles and point play, the intensity really picked up during the afternoon doubles practice.

 carynalex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately, the men have one extra day compared to the women before their match against DII Eckerd College. The main goal for the men in the morning was to find a groove on their strokes and get used to playing tennis outdoors again. The afternoon practice saw just as much hard work as the morning, also focusing on doubles.

 

woodsmax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course what would a day full of tennis be without ending it with some conditioning. Led by senior Mike Sherman and junior Ryan Mannelly, both teams pushed through the afternoon heat to prepare themselves for those long three set matches later in the season.  To the surprise of the coaches, everyone seemed to have enough energy for a quick dip in the pool back at home as the sun set on our first day in Florida. 

reissteam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

swim

18
Feb
09

A Taste of the South for Stein & Amrit

72amritstein_mg_05982Following a thrilling run to the NCAA National Doubles Semi-Finals last May in front of an electrified crowd here at the Wallach Center, the duo of Ben Stein and Amrit Rupasinghe hoped to pick up where the left off while competing in the ITA New England Championships at Williams College in September. The All-American duo not only picked up where they left off last spring, they proved the success at the NCAA tournament was not an accident and that they are one of the top teams to beat in the nation. In the finals of the ITA New England Championships, Ben and Amrit topped the #1 Bowdoin team of Stephen Sullivan and Alex White by a score of 8-5. By winning the tournament Ben and Amrit advanced to the Small College Nationals in Mobile, AL to compete against the seven other ITA champions for an ITA National Championship in October.

 

First up for the Bobcats in Mobile would be the Johns Hopkins team of Maldow and Wang. Though it was not easy, Ben and Amrit earned a tidy 6-4, 6-4 victory to move into the semis. The Goodwin brothers of Emory would be next. The senior/freshman duo from one of the most successful programs in Division III won the first set in a tie-break 7-5. Knowing the chances had been there to take in the first, Ben and Amrit knew if they could raise their level of play the second set could be theirs. Unfortunately, it was not the Bobcats’ day, losing the second 6-2. What the pair could take away from the loss was that they didn’t play their best and were still close to advancing to the finals.

 

The following day Ben and Amrit lost another close one in the third place match to Cutler and Hoeland of Washington University, 7-6(2), 6-4. They could both taste that national championship, but through the time spent at the Small College Nationals they understand how much more work must be put in this spring to reach their goals.