Sports Women's Sports

Springfield College Women’s Tennis Fights Through Early Season Struggles

By: Zach Tolman
Staff Writer

Sophomore Melanie Thulin (Springfield College Athletics)
Sophomore Melanie Thulin (Springfield College Athletics)

The Springfield College women’s tennis team has had a shaky start to their season, holding a current overall record of 1-3 and a 0-3 record in conference play. Experience is the goal for the year, as six of the 13 roster spots are filled out by freshman getting their first taste of the world of collegiate sports.
Springfield’s lone win of the season was a close 5-4 victory over non-conference opponent, Nichols College, back on September 11 at the Robinson Courts in Dudley, Mass.
Earning singles wins on the day for the Pride was sophomore Melanie Thulin (6-0, 6-1), sophomore Ariana Shemms (6-2, 6-0), freshman Stephanie Foster (6-2, 6-0), and junior Alana Grady (6-4, 4-6, 7-5), who secured the win for her team by clinching the tiebreak against Nichols junior Samantha Rydell.
The No. 3 doubles team made up of senior captain Sydney Streimer and Alana Grady were also able to register a win.
“Alana Grady coming in at six as a transfer has really solidified the bottom of our line-up, which I didn’t expect this year,” Coffin explained. “She had a huge win against Nichols.”
The young team fell short, however, to both Babson College and MIT by 0-9 and to Wheaton College by a 1-8 margin. Earning the solo mark in the win column for the maroon and white over those matches was the No. 2 doubles pair composed of freshman Rachel London from Port Jefferson, N.Y. and freshman Stephanie Foster out of Woodbridge, Conn.
The freshman doubles pair claimed the win in dramatic fashion, forcing a tie-break, continuing to display veteran net play and accurate lob shots that finalized the 7-4 tie-break victory and the 8-9 match win.
London has proven herself to be a consistent competitor, earning herself the No. 1 singles spot despite being a first-year player.
“Rachel [London] has a great backhand and is smart when she plays,” said Streimer, of the standout freshman. “She has great groundstrokes, her backhand is her stronger side, while her mentality on and off the court is great.”
“The transition between high school and college tennis for me has not been that hard because I came from a small school,” London stated. “Because of that I played on my varsity tennis team as a seventh grader and was a key player, helping me to become a leader.
“It is scary and there is a lot of pressure to jump right into a lead role, but the coach and team have been very supportive.”
The Pride have three matches remaining in their fall season, beginning with Western New England University on Thursday at the Volvo Outdoor Tennis Courts in Springfield, Mass.

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