Archive for May 5th, 2009

05
May
09

seniors shine in last home match

At this time of year there are a lot of lasts; last class of the semester, last exam of the year, and last tennis match of the season. For seniors, all of these are not just the last of the semester, year, or season; they are the last of a career.  The final home match for our seniors was last Sunday against Wesleyan. There are four seniors Bates Tennis will be saying goodbye to in 2009, all having dedicated a great deal of their time to improving the program during their time at Bates. Caryn was the only senior on the women’s team, carrying the responsibility of leading a young team through the toughest conference in the nation. Ben, a two time All-American, has helped take the program to new heights by continuing to be a national presence in doubles and singles. Mike Sherman, has exemplified what it means to be a Bobcat for Bates Tennis. He cares more about the success of his team and this program than he cares about anything else. Matt Chamberlin, was always ready to do the extra things for the team. If anyone needed and extra hit, he was there. If anyone needed a racket strung, he was there. As coaches we could call on him whenever we needed something. As a group they had one last match to show the home crowd what they could do on the court.

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It was going to be long day of tennis on Sunday, so we decided to have a team cookout the night before to make sure everyone was ready for the big day. One of the great amenities about the new dorm Bates just built is the huge grill out on the patio. With Coach Gastonguay playing the role of grill master, it was a great way for the teams to get together before classes resumed for short term. Full of burgers, hot dogs, and ice cream, the Cats were ready for the visiting Cardinal.

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The women would play in the morning session and start with a hard fought win at #2 doubles by Brooke and Erika. Being down 2-1 after the doubles is not where we hoped to be, but knowing all our women would not stop fighting gives a coach belief in his team. Unfortunately we couldn’t pull out the victory for Caryn, but we had our chances with three matches losing at least one set in a tiebreak. The lone singles victory came by our captain, Caryn, who has been playing the best tennis of her career here at the end of the season. After being down 3-0 and 4-1 in the first set, she rallied back to win the last five games to take the set. Her consistency and shot making had her opponent frustrated well into the second set. Caryn found herself up 4-1 in the second set, and then the realization of the moment she was in hit her and allowed her opponent to bring it back to 4-4.  Like she has done all year, Caryn found a way to get the last two games and win her final collegiate match.

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The men were next, as the afternoon started to heat up, so did the doubles. Having not lost a match in over three weeks, Stein and Amrit had no intention of letting the Cardinal duo get even close. After a relatively easy win at #2 for Ryan and Max, Fenno and Reiss came through in a tough one at #3 to give the Cats the much needed 3-0 lead after doubles. In singles, it was time for the seniors to shine. Stein showed great focus in beating a tough opponent in O’Connell 6-1, 6-3. Then, Sherman at the #6 spot won with a score of 6-3, 6-0. Sherman was out early in the season due to injury, but we couldn’t keep him off the court as he became a player assistant, helping guide his teammates through their matches. As much as he liked coaching his teammates, it was obvious he wished he could be out there earning points for the team. So on Sunday, he found himself doing just that, winning the clinching match and assuring the Cats the final spot in the NESCAC tournament. So even though it was the last home match for Stein and Sherman, it would not be their last college match, as the men would travel to Williams for the conference tournament.

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This program cannot thank these seniors enough for what they have done in their four years here. They have shown great leadership, both on and off the court, as well as represented Bates Tennis better than we could have asked. It is not going to be easy having these four leave our campus, but we are proud to send them out to do great things knowing that they will always have a place in their memory for the Cats.

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