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Women’s tennis battles mid-season injuries

March 31, 2017

Liam Finnerty
SERVING UP VICTORY: Joulia Likhanskaia ’17 rallies with a teammate in an indoor practice in Farley Field House. With snow still on the courts, the team will play both its matches this weekend indoors as it comes back from its seven-game tour in California.

The women’s tennis team traveled to California over Spring Break and opened its spring season with a 6-1 record. Its outstanding performance places the team in a good position as it returns to Brunswick ranked fourth in the nation.

“I’m really happy with our performance over the break,” said captain Tess Trinka ’18. “What it really showed us is that we’re right up there with any team that we face.”

Much of the team’s recent success is due to its chemistry. The team’s small size and incredible communication have allowed the team to become closer and have resulted in improvements off and on the court.

“Communication-wise, we have a really good team this year,” said Trinka. “We’re a very small team, which is not that uncommon. There’s only eight of us, but we’re such a close team. This year more than ever, people are just really good about communicating, and we’re all very much on the same page. I think that our seniors have done a great job leadership-wise.”

Despite its recent success, the team still faces difficulties regarding its lack of depth. A recent string of injuries has decreased the already small team of eight to six, the bare minimum for a tennis team to be able to compete.

“Our size has to be our biggest weakness,” said Trinka. “The injuries are hard for the team not that far into the break, and we’re obviously very sad about it, but I think the way we responded to it was really important for the rest of our season.”

Maddie Rolph ’19 is recovering from an injury from this fall and Sarah Shadowens ’19 tore her ACL during a match against Pomona in California. However, these setbacks have only served to highlight the strengths of the team. Its resilience and determination have allowed the team to weather recent issues and caused the team to step up its game.

“The bonds that we formed leading up to the season really helped us when we got out there and faced some adversity with serious injuries,” said Sasa Jovanovic ’20. “When we got up there on the court we were conscious about the fact that we were playing not only for ourselves, but for each other.”

The situation has also prompted the new first years on the team to make an immediate contribution on the court.

“We’re only seven matches in, and we have a long season ahead of us, but [the first years] have definitely shown a lot of determination and strength,” said Trinka. “They’ve demonstrated their ability to step up and make an impact on the team and we’re just hoping they can keep it up.”

Heading into the second half of the season, the Polar Bears hope to capitalize upon their recent successes and carry their momentum into future games. The team hopes to at least match last year’s performance and make it into the NCAA Final Four this year.

The Polar Bears will face Colby at 10 a.m. and Bates at 2 p.m. at Farley Field House on Sunday.

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