The Bowdoin Women’s Tennis team will be traveling to Boston this weekend to compete against NESCAC rivals and other Division III schools in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England Regionals. The ITA, hosted this year by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the second of three tournaments the team will compete in this fall and also the most important.

“The ITA is a really good way to gauge where we are as a team and see a lot of opponents we’ll play against in the spring,” captain Tess Trinka ’18 said. “We also see opponents we won’t see in the spring, so it’s good to mix it up and try out new competition. It’s definitely the biggest event of the fall for us.”

Although spring is the main season for tennis, the fall represents a unique opportunity for the players to focus on their own successes as well as those of the team. Unlike the spring season, when all matches affect Bowdoin’s record, the results of fall competitions only contribute to individual standings.

Furthermore, only players who qualify get the chance to compete in the fall tournaments. This year, six women from Bowdoin will compete in the ITA as five singles players and three doubles teams.

Joulia Likhanskaia ’17 enters the singles tournament as the third seed this year and the team of Likhanskaia and Samantha Stadler ’17 will enter the doubles bracket seeded third as well.

The competitors have big shoes to fill after the 2015 ITA. Last year, two Bowdoin doubles teams—Pilar Giffenig ’17/Sarah Shadowens ’19 and Tiffany Cheng ’16/Likhanskaia—advanced to the semifinals, with Cheng/Likhanskaia moving on to a final match against ultimate tournament champions Yu/Chong from Wesleyan.

On the singles side, Likhanskaia and Cheng, originally seeded second and thirteenth, respectively, advanced to the round of 16, while Trinka advanced to the round of eight.
Last weekend, the women squared off against Division I teams at their first tournament at Stony Brook.

“[Stony Brook] was the first college match for our freshmen, and that’s an adjustment for everyone,” said Trinka. “It’s tough because tennis is an individual sport, and in college when it becomes a team sport that can be a really hard transition. But our first years are doing such a good job.”

This spring, the team lost one of its key players with Cheng graduating, but despite this setback, the squad heading to MIT is nothing but eager and hopeful.

“We’ve only been in season for three weeks or so and we’ve only played one individual tournament so far,” said Stalder. “But from what I’ve seen, I’m expecting good things.”