Archive for May, 2010

29
May
10

Where in the U.S. is Bettles

If you have followed the Bobcats this year, you know one of the greatest additions to the men’s team has been a British import. Matt Bettles, a freshman from Taunton, England was the MVP of the team this year and an All-NESCAC team member. With all the traveling our tennis teams do, Bettles visited many towns he had never been to. This is a little quiz to see if you can tell where in the U.S. Bettles is visiting. The answers are located at the bottom.

1.

2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.

Answers:

1. Starbucks in the Columbus, OH airport

2. His first American carnival in Amherst, MA

3. We stopped for dinner in Newton, MA on our trip to New Jersey

4. Fuji Hibachi in Portland, ME after February break training

5. Williams Tennis Center at the fall ITA tournament

6. Local cafe in Middlebury, VT

7. First trip to D’Angelos sandwich shop

8. Dinner at the Broadway Pub after the win against Denison in Ohio

9. Breakfast at Middlebury Bagel and Deli, a tradition when playing in Middlebury

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17
May
10

end of season awards banquet

Last week the men’s and women’s team attended the end of season banquet at Gippers, a local favorite sports grill. It was a chance for the two teams to get together one last time before our seniors graduate and everyone else heads all over the country for summer jobs and internships. The banquet was also a chance to summarize all the great things about the past season and give out the team awards. After the dinner and awards, the slide show of all the pictures taken over the year closes out season in hopefully a humorous yet memorable way.

After a great dinner, Coach Gastonguay mentioned the great strides the women’s team made this year. Like many of you have read before, this was the most wins since 1986 and we also moved up from 9th in the NESCAC to 7th missing the conference tournament by one spot. We will obviously miss our two seniors, Jean and Alex, but the future is bright with a great group of freshman and sophomores returning as well as adding several incoming first years. On the men’s side, it will be impossible to replace the five seniors graduating at the end of the month, but the experience the younger players gained this season should help the team down the road. With five recruits coming in next fall to join the now seasoned upperclassmen, next season is already something to get excited about.

For the awards, each year the coaches give out an MVP award and Bobcat award to each team. The MVP represents the player who had the most outstanding season on the court and without this person the goals achieved would not have been possible. The Bobcat award is given to the student-athlete who best represents everything Bates Tennis is about. This person has shown commitment on and off the court, a desire to bring all they had every day, was a leader to his or her teammates, and would do whatever the coaches needed of him or her. The MVP for the women’s team was Meg. She was asked to play #2 singles and #1 doubles against a very tough schedule as well as step in to the #1 singles spot several times with Alex battling injuries all year. Only a sophomore, she handled this pressure and responsibility with great maturity throughout the season. The Bobcat award was given to Jean. A senior and captain, Jean was always ready to lead the women. Her great sense of humor had a way of keeping the team loose in some of the most tense moments. She has shown the younger players what it takes to be successful on and off the court and will be a great ambassador for the Bates Tennis program along with the college itself as she goes forward in her career.

The MVP for the men was Bettles. Only a freshman, he played #1 doubles with Rupa and ended the season at #2 singles. At one point in the season he had won nine singles matches in a row, and ended the season winning 11 out of 12 singles matches. He also earned second team All-NESCAC honors in doubles. We have high hopes for the future of his career at Bates. The Bobcat award was given to Reiss. If there was one guy you knew was always going to play his heart out no matter whether he was injured, stressed about schoolwork, or not playing his best, it was Mike. For four years he has proven to be the most competitive of anyone on the team and played with a passion that many of the younger players could learn from. He has also always put his academics first, showing what it truly means to be a student-athlete.

It was a great season for both teams and even though everyone is probably happy to have a little rest, the excitement for next year is already here. Keep checking back here on the blog as there will continue to be posts even though the season has ended.

12
May
10

One last award for the national champs

On May 2 at the Lost Valley Lodge across the river in Auburn, Amrit and his doubles partner from last year, Ben Stein, received the President’s Award from the Auburn Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame. The Presiden’ts Award is given to local high school and college athletes for outstanding achievement on and off the playing fields and courts. Amrit is a three time All-American and he paired with Stein (’09) who was a four time All-American to with the 2009 NCAA Doubles National Championship last May in Claremont, CA. Stein was also the 2009 NCAA Singles Runner-up. He is living in New York City working for Madison Square Garden and Amrit will graduate this year and plans to move to New York City as well. The pair won the second national championship for Bates Tennis after the 2006 singles championship won by Will Boe-Wiegaard. Coach Gastonguay introduced and presented Amrit with his award in front of about 150 people at the Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. This is a great honor for the two of them and they both expressed thanks to their teammates, coaches, parents, and the hall of fame selection committee for the honor.

09
May
10

hitting the road with the cats on april break part 2

After a great dinner a few nights before at Alex’s house in Pennsylvania, the Cats took on Trinity in one of the biggest matches of the year for both the Cats and Bantems. The teams took the court just a few minutes past noon, it would be close sundown when the teams would finish. When two teams are so evenly matched, the team that gets the lead after doubles has a big advantage. Trinity was able to pull through at #3 doubles with an 8-5 win. Meg and Alex played great under pressure and won 9-7 to leave it up to the #2 team of Nicole and Ashley. It was back and forth with the teams tied at 7-7. Trinity eventually prevailed with the 9-7 win to put the Bantems up 2-1 after the doubles. The Cats knew even though they were down, that they were close and could find a way to win four singles matches.

In singles, Katie played her best match in the biggest moment, winning 6-2,6-0 to get the Cats back to 2-2. That singles match was the only one that wasn’t close, with four of the remaining five matches went to a third set. Ashley won the first set, but let her opponent off the hook by losing the second set 6-4, only to regroup and play a flawless and inspired third set to win the match. That put the Cats up 3-2. Alex, having battled injuries all year, lost the first set 6-0 and could have just given up. She knew how much her team needed her and fought back in the second to win it 6-3. The two #1 players went back and forth until it was 4-4, where Hoyt won the last two games to tie the team match score at 3-3. Meg would be apart of another three setter, like Alex she lost the first set. But, like Alex, Meg found a way to win the second set and move the match to a decisive third set. Meg got down an early break and was never able to get it back losing the set 6-3. Up 4-3 in the team match, all Trinity needed was one of the two matches left on the court. Erika won a tight first set 6-4, then lost a close second set 7-5. Like Ashley did an hour before her, Erika came out at the beginning of the third on fire and never gave her opponent a chance, winning the decisive third set 6-2. Nicole was last on and she too had lost the first set. There was no question everyone had confidence in Nicole because of her coming through under pressure to win against Colby. This time the pressure and the opponent were too great and with the shadows of the Trinity library and chapel crawling across the courts the Bantems prevailed 5-4.

We are a young team and this was a learning experience for us. These kind of matches can go either way, and that day the bounces didn’t fall our way. With this team there will be plenty of close matches in the future, and because of this loss they will be better prepared for those pressure filled moments.

The following day the men took on the Bantems, knowing the loser would most likely get the 6th seed in the NESCAC tournament. The sun was out and it was hot and muggy, conditions that would come in to play throughout the day. Like the women’s match, the doubles was of upmost importance. Jeff and Max struggled early and could never catch up at #2 doubles. Amrit and Bettles, playing one of three teams ranked ahead of them in the region, lost a close one 9-7. Suddenly, Rob and Fenno were in a must win situation at #3 doubles. They had a lead but the Trinity team fought back and pushed the match to a tie break. This is when the serving of Rob and the net play of Fenno took over the tie break. The guys played extremely aggressive and won the tie break 7-5. Down 2-1, the Cats knew what they had to do in singles, and they knew it wouldn’t be easy.

Amrit and Max lost both of their matches which put the Cats down 4-1 and on the brink of defeat. The momentum was completely in the favor of the Bantems, but then you could feel the tide start to turn. Bettles had lost the first set quickly, but was playing much better in the second and had a chance to win it. Reiss frustrated his opponent enough to make him throw his racket and yell as Reiss gave the Cats our second point. Fenno, played with great confidence and got the Cats another point. Almost simultaneously Rob won a very close second set tie break to win his second match of the day. It was now 4-4, with everything riding another freshman, Bettles. He was going back in forth in a tie break, with both teams watching, knowing if he lost the match was over. As you would expect, he came through and won the second set and it seemed that all the momentum was in the Bates’ court.

At the beginning of the third was when the heat I spoke of early came in to play. Bettles, who grew up playing in England, had rarely faced this kind of heat and humidity. Matt started cramping in his legs and had to take an injury time out after the first game in third set. He tried to fight through it, but anyone who has experienced this knows your body feels like it shuts down on you. Down 5-0, Bettles could physically no longer move and had to retire. It was a tough defeat to swallow, but the Cats left everything they had out on the court and that is all a coach can ask for. All the guys could control was how much effort they put in and they gave it 100% on that Saturday in April. The good thing was the Cats would be able to get right back on the court the following day against Wesleyan.

The women were first to face the Cardinals, going up against a team we lost to last year. Up 2-1 after the doubles, the Cats knew they could get the victory but that it would be very tough. After wins at #2 and #3 singles, the Cardinals were back in front, but that’s when Alex and Ashley came through in another pair of three setters. Alex had a chance to close out the match in the second set, but ended up losing it and could’ve easily gone away in the third set. Alex was determined to lead this team to victory and knew the comeback would have to start with her. She did exactly that and served out the match at 5-4. Tied at 3-3, Ashley won 6-2 in the third set to give the team one more point. Like I said after the Trinity match, this team would have opportunities to come through in pressure situations, and that is exactly what Nicole did. She closed out the match for the Cats, giving us the fifth team point and a victory over another NESCAC opponent. It was also the 10th win of the season, something the women’s team has not accomplished since 1986.

The men, feeling the pain of the previous day’s loss both mentally and physically, took out their frustration on the Cardinals. The Cats went up 3-0 after the doubles and continued to roll in the singles. In one of the only close singles matches, Max lost the first set, but then got things going by only losing one game in the second and third sets combined. It was good to get the taste of winning back and get the bitterness of the Trinity loss out of our mouth.

It was a long, but fun road trip. It taught both teams a lot about what it takes to win close NESCAC matches. The men had several matches left in the season after the road trip, for the women the Wesleyan win would conclude their season, finishing one spot out of the NESCAC tournament. Once they were back on campus, the Cats started short term, a time to take a single, unique class for a month and enjoy all the fun the Bates campus has to offer.

05
May
10

hitting the road with the cats on april break part 1

For many Bates students, April Break is a time to head to the beach, road trip with friends, or just head home to relax after a stressful couple of weeks due to exams and papers. For the Cats, it’s a full week of playing and training just like the pros do. On the Monday of break the women’s team headed to Colby-Sawyer located in scenic central New Hampshire to start off what would be seven matches in seven days total for the two teams combined. It was a sunny, yet windy afternoon when we arrived at the courts that were set on a hill, appropriately named Windy Hill, overlooking the Mount Kearsarge State Park. It was a beautiful setting for a tennis match, unfortunately because of the heavy winds it would be anything but beautiful tennis. This would be a match won by the team who competed the hardest, kept a level head, and handled the adversity the wind causes on a tennis match. There were going to be plenty of shanks, double faults, and tricky bounces, but it was the same for both players and the more mentally tough player would come out on top.

The Cats have emphasized doubles all season and once again the women took the opportunity to get the early lead in doubles. With Nicole out of the match due to a nagging leg injury, Jenna stepped right in with Ashley and they didn’t miss a beat winning 8-1 at third doubles. Katie and Erika, usually our #3 team, moved up to the second spot, played their powerful style of doubles and gave the Cats their second point. Alex, who was fighting a sore shoulder, fought through the pain to serve out the match at #1 doubles with Meg as they won 8-5.

With a sizeable lead after the doubles, Alex and Nicole were taken out of the singles line-up to rest their injuries for the week ahead. This meant Jean and Jenna would have to fill in at the #5 and #6 spots. I don’t think anyone on the team doubted  how they would do. Jean lost the first game and then ran off 12 straight to win the match 6-1,6-0. Jenna would finish right before Jean securing the 5th point for the team with a score of 6-0,6-0. Ashley, with her parents in town from Arizona, must have been trying to show how much she has improved since she has come to Bates because she never let up on her opponent winning without losing a game. Erika took care of things like she usually does and won 6-1,6-1. Katie won a tough match at #2, coming from behind in the first set to win it in a tie break. She used the momentum from the first to fuel the 6-3 win in the second set. This was exactly the kind of start the women needed going into the most important matches of the season.

Tuesday afternoon both teams made the long van ride down to New Jersey to take on the Lions of The College of New Jersey. The men would play first on Wednesday morning, going up against traditionally a tough TCNJ team. With an important match against Trinity on Saturday this was a solid test for the Cats. The guys passed this test with flying colors.

The Cats had a couple of days of rest since exams and it showed in the doubles as they came out playing loose and energized. This led to the 3-0 lead after the doubles, with none of the matches being very close. In singles, Amrit and Max would take down the Fernandez brothers at the #1 and #2 spots. Amrit never allowed Steven to get into the match, and Max found a way to get back in the first set against Stewart after being down 3-0 and eventually won it 6-4. After those two victories the team match had been clinched, but the Cats wanted to make sure it was a convincing victory. Bettles at #3 won his 9th singles match in a row as he dominated his opponent with steady groundstrokes and the occasional flashy passing shot or volley. Reiss had little trouble and was quickly off the court after a 6-1,6-2 win. Rob, playing in front of his mom and little sisters pulled out a very close match. It’s always a confidence booster to win the tight matches and Rob would use the confidence gained in this match to help him the rest of the week. An 8-1 win over TCNJ was exactly what the Cats needed as they would travel to Hartford, CT to take on the Bantems of Trinity on Saturday. But before the Bantems came calling the guys had the chance to stay at the Fenno’s house and be spoiled with two days of home cooked meals.

With the men’s team cheering them on, the women took on the 23rd ranked Lions after the men’s match was finished; and what started as a beautiful sunny morning turned into a gloomy, overcast afternoon. The ladies knew this would be a hard match as TCNJ was extremely deep with talent and we weren’t playing at full strength with Alex and Nicole having injuries. After two hard fought losses at #1 and #2 doubles, the #3 duo of Erika and Katie were locked in a tight match that was going back and forth. At 6-6 Erika and Katie ripped one return after another until finally capitalizing on their second break point. Up 7-6, the Cats played a great service game to win the match 8-6.

Down 2-1 the Cats knew it would be a struggle to come back against this team, but also knew all they could control was the effort they put in and they could let the outcome work itself out. Up and down the line up there were close matches, but none closer than Katie’s match at #2 singles. After getting frustrated and losing the first set 6-2, Katie figured out the game plan to beat her small yet very athletic opponent in the second set. Katie hit big forehand after big forehand to win the second set 7-5. In the match tie break for the third set, with everyone on both teams watching, she squeaked out a nail biting 10-6 win. It was a hard loss to take, but the Cats knew it was good preparation for the two matches they had left on the road trip against Trinity and Wesleyan.

Check back later for the details of the Trinity and Wesleyan matches, along with a story about Amrit and his doubles partner from last year Ben Stein receiving the President’s Award from the Auburn Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame.

04
May
10

meet the bobcats – adrienne jaeger

Next up on Meet the Bobcats is first year Adrienne Jaeger.

1. Where are you from and what high school did you attend?

I am from Bath, Maine and I went to Morse High School.

2. What has been your favorite tennis team memory so far?

I have a lot of good tennis team memories but playing catch phrase over February break is probably one of my favorites.

3. What is your favorite Commons’ meal?

My favorite commons meal is the fruit pizza. It sounds gross but it’s actually really good.

4. What short term class are you taking and how is it so far?

I am taking a Spanish class called Envisioning Catalan Modernity. I like it so far
because I get to improve my Spanish. The best part will be getting to travel to Barcelona in two weeks.

5. What are your plans for the summer?

I am working at a gift store in my town and I will hopefully going to the beach a lot.

6. Do you have any pets?

I have a poodle.

7. What has been the best book you have read in the last year?

East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

8. Why did you choose Bates?

I liked the small, community-oriented environment and the strong academics.

9. If you could have a super power, what would it be?

Probably the ability to fly.

10. Red Sox or Yankees?
Red Sox

01
May
10

hamilton colonials lose battle against cats

The women and men hosted the Hamilton Colonials a couple of weeks ago and both teams were able to get another NESCAC win as they headed into the April break road trip. It was senior day for the women since it was their last home match. During the introductions, we honored senior captains Jean and Alex for all that they have done for this program. They played on teams that struggled to win matches early in their careers but learned from those experiences and this year they were the leaders on one of the most successful women’s tennis team in Bates history. Coach Gastonguay’s daughters presented Jean and Alex with flowers before the match and then it was time to get down to business. Alex teamed up with Meg to get the first win, 8-3, at #1 doubles. Katie and Erika followed that up with the second team point with an 8-5 win at #2 doubles. Nicole and Ashley completed the sweep of doubles with another 8-5 victory.

Katie and Ashley wasted no time in their singles matches clinching the victory for the Cats. Katie played one of her best matches of the season losing only one game, and Ashley frustrated her opponent with her aggressiveness at net, winning 6-2, 6-1. Meg went to a 10 point match tiebreak where she eventually prevailed 10-5 to get the sixth point. Finishing up the match with two more wins were Erika and Jean at #5 and #6. Both of them won pro sets. After the match, the parents had a great lunch prepared since it was the last home match for the women. The women could relax, have some food, and watch to see if the men’s team could duplicate their success.

This match against Hamilton was an important one because the guys had just gotten done with exams, it had been a long week, and it was a must win to insure our spot in the NESCAC tournament. The Cats could make their life much easier if they could get all three doubles’ points. They came out with good intensity and jumped right on the Colonials early at #1 and #3 doubles. Zach and Rob, who still hadn’t played a ton of matches together, looked as though they are starting to mesh well with a quick 8-2 win. Amrit and Bettles, trying to keep their hopes alive for a berth into the NCAA tournament, won 8-4. Jeff and Max, at #2 doubles, must really like all the attention on them because they seem to always play the longest matches. If they aren’t coming back from big deficits to get the win like they did at Denison, they are playing matches that go back and forth with plenty of drama. The Cats found a way to come through to secure the third team point with an 8-6 victory.

Since Hamilton had a long drive back home the match would only be played to decision which meant once one team reached five points all other matches would be suspended. With the Cats up 3-0 the win was in sight for the guys. Amrit was all business and won 6-0, 6-1. It was then a race to see who would clinch the 5th point since Max, Bettles, and Reiss had won their first sets with ease. It would be the freshman to come through and win his 8th singles match in a row as well as clinch the team victory. Both Max and Reiss were one game away from victory when their matches were stopped. Crampton and Fenno were obviously disappointed they would not get a chance to take the court, but knew they had a long week of tennis ahead of them.

These two matches were the start of an important week for the Bates tennis teams as they would travel down to New Jersey and Connecticut to play matches during April break. It was important to start the week of on a winning note and both teams did what they needed to do against the Colonials.




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