Eph head coach Alison Swain ’01 has quite a streak of success in NCAA Tournaments in her four years guiding the Williams program, but you will not hear her talk about the streak this fall or even next spring.
The fall, for Swain and her Eph team, is all about building a team-focused culture, enjoying the game of tennis, and striving to improve every day.
To be sure, the Ephs will play to win each time they step on court, but the main goal of the fall campaign is competitive experience and building the strongest possible team for the spring campaign.
Swain’s Ephs return two of the three doubles teams and four of the six singles players that netted Williams a fourth consecutive NCAA title in May and gave the Ephs a record six NCAA Division III titles.
|Kristin Alotta '12|
Lost to graduation were the top Eph doubles tandem of Lucy Marchese and Nikki Reich, who earned All-America honors and finished as the #7 doubles teams in the nation. In her four years competing for Williams, Reich posted a singles record of 89-23 and fashioned a doubles ledger of 103-34. She became the first Eph women's player to win 100 doubles matches.
Marchese, however, was limited in competition before her senior spring due to injuries. She went 55-15 in singles play and 51-19 in doubles. Last spring Marchese played at #3 singles, while Reich held down the #5 slot.
Also lost to graduation was Katie Friedman, who played a significant leadership role in formulating last year’s success. Friedman served as Swain’s assistant coach in post-season play for each of the last three years.
“The class of 2011 is an incredibly special class to me,” noted Swain. “They will go down in the history books for all that they achieved in four years. The intangibles that they brought to the team in terms of competitive leadership, an ethic of hard work, and a team-first attitude played a large role in the four straight NCAA Championships.”
|Taylor French '12|
Returning to the top of Eph ladder will be senior tri-captain Kristin Alotta, who earned All-America honors in 2011 for the second year in a row and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Individual Singles Tournament.
Senior tri-captain Taylor French teamed up with Alotta last spring to comprise the Ephs #2 doubles team, and they went undefeated in NCAA play. French has accumulated 70 doubles wins in her career versus just 22 losses. She has also been named the ITA Player to Watch and an All-American in doubles in past seasons.
|Caroline Capute '12|
In their five NCAA Tournament matches in 2011 Williams did not drop a point in doubles play -- even Alison Swain will find it hard to improve on that effort.
Senior tri-captain Caroline Capute was the Ephs #6 singles player last year and she went 23-5 to boost her career singles mark to a glittering 47-9. In doubles play Capute owns a career record of 42-15.
“Caroline, Kristin, and Taylor are thrilled to be captains,” commented Swain. “They have been huge assets to our program both in terms of tangible results and the individual personalities they bring to our team. They believe deeply in the philosophy of our program and understand how to prepare to play well on big stages. I’m excited to have them step up as leaders and shape our team culture and our goals for the coming year.”
Also returning is junior Nancy Worley who played #2 singles last year and has won the decisive 5th point in three NCAA Tournament matches in her career, including the title match in 2011 versus Amherst. Her two-year singles record is an impressive 47-7. She was named a 2011 ITA All-American and finished the year ranked #18 in the nation for singles.
In the spring of 2011, the #4 singles spot was held down by impressive first year Kathleen Elkins. The talented lefty showed no lack of confidence on the year going undefeated in NCAA Tournament matches and posting a singles mark of 25-2. She followed that up with a 19-2 doubles mark teaming up at the #3 spot with partner Caroline Capute ‘12. A Second Team All-NESCAC singles selection, Elkins went undefeated in her spring singles campaign and was one of two Ephs to post a singles win in the title tilt vs. Amherst.
Swain will use the fall season to identify tactical areas to focus on in order to maximize team improvement. The fall will also help give first year’s competitive experience and aid in constructing an intended spring lineup. Returning players who may see increased court time include junior Veranika Li, and sophomores Kara Shoemaker and Lindsay Thygesen.
Of the trio returning, Shoemaker played in the most matches. She ran up a singles record of 18-5 and notched a doubles record of 6-1.
|Nancy Worley '13||Kathleen Elkins '14|
“Kara was a huge asset to our team last year,” added Swain. “She epitomized what it means to be a great teammate. Whether she was working hard in practice, motivating her teammates from the sidelines, or stepping in to play singles in post-season matches, Kara always put the team first."
Thygesen was an identical 5-1 in both singles and double play in her first year of intercollegiate tennis.
In her first two years, Li has compiled an unblemished record in both singles (13-0) and doubles play (9-0). She will return to the team after studying abroad this fall in Prague.
“Rebecca, Monica, and Maria will be great assets to our program,” stated Swain. “They are all talented tennis players, but more importantly, they are excited to be part of a team-focused environment and to contribute to the Williams College community both on and off the court.”
The Ephs open the fall portion of their schedule at home on September 10 and 11 hosting the Lindsay Morehouse Invitational, which will feature teams from Middlebury, Skidmore and Vassar.
The first dual match in the fall will be on September 17 when the Ephs host a double-header versus NESCAC foes Wesleyan (10:30am) and Tufts (2:00pm).
“I am incredibly excited to be back on the tennis court with these women,” Swain said. “This year is not about living up to past expectations; it’s about working together to improve our games, support each other, and celebrate the sport that we all love to play.”