Role players impress, bring tennis winning record

By Mathew Starner

Despite a smaller team compared to recent years and each player in a new ranking from one to six, women’s tennis has utilized role players in order to jump out to a 10-7 record with only a couple weeks left.The year started out with a key loss with graduating ace Angie Horner ’09, in addition to missing a couple girls to either studying abroad or taking a semester off, the lineup was shaken up. The team, though, only made it an opportunity to express the potential that had been there all along.

“A lot of people had to step up this year. I could just go down the lineup,” No. 2 singles Amanda Wenzel ’10 said. “Stephanie [Lee] had to move up from No. 2 to No. 1, which is really big to go from playing the second best player to their very top player.”

Lee has found success in her new role as the team’s ace, going 10-8 and 8-2 in her last ten matches. Lee has been followed by strong play at No. 2 by Wenzel, who has taken 10 out of her 15 including seven of the last ten.

But the team’s sleeper this year has to be No. 3 singles Paige Schaefer ’13. Schaeffer has exceeded expectations, especially as a first year.

“For Paige to come in as a freshman and have as strong of a season as she’s having, it’s incredibly impressive,” Wenzel said. “I would say too that her mentality is very impressive: she’s very focused during matches, she stays positive but she stays intense. You never have to question did she give it her all, you just know.”

The intensity, however, is not unique to Schaefer, and she may be the first to diffract the spotlight.

“At Mac, there’s a greater sense of a team feeling and team vibe,” Schaefer said. “Here, it’s ‘we’re gonna win as a team, lose as a team.’ It’s a greater sense of we’re all in this together. Every single person on the team works really hard and we’re all on the same wavelength.”

The number four spot has brought a lot of W’s into the record for the Scots as well, as Abby Citrin ’11 has rarely been off her game. Citrin has posted a 14-3 mark, with a 2-0 record when stepping into the No. 3 spot as well.

“Abby is going to be very crucial to future success,” Wenzel said. “This year she has been really solid. She’s someone you come to depend on for a win. You kind of just assume Abby is going to pull it out.”

Watching each other play and giving others support has been a defining characteristic of the Scots this year.

“We have girls who go out and give it their all and are really supportive,” Wenzel said. “After our matches, the girls go out and are standing beside courts that are still playing, cheering people on. On other teams, you don’t see that.”

The success this year has generated more optimism for the future as well, especially considering the top two spots in Lee and Wenzel will be graduating, potentially leaving the top reins to younger players like Schaefer, Citrin, and No. 5 singles Lucy Miner.

“A lot of it would be building a lot of personal confidence for players to carry into next year,” Wenzel said. “I really believe that our players can hang in with anybody.