October 6, 2003 - Margaret Moscato
With a new school year starting and new faces on the team, it is always nice to have a tournament away from Emory to get to know one another better. It also is nice to have a chance to play matches after spending several weeks practicing and working out.
The regional tournament at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., allowed for plenty of bonding and competitive tennis. Starting with the drive up, we were in close quarters and soon realized who has the loudest laugh (um...Alexis). We also quickly found out each other's preferences for Chex Mix (courtesy of Mrs. Gordon) versus Carina's brownies or Katherine's perfect cookies.
The first day of tennis was a positive one, with everyone winning at least one singles and doubles match. Without any of our assistant coaches there, Coach Amy Smith had her work cut out for her.
However, one of the things that the players on the Emory women's tennis team do best is cheer, especially if that means helping a teammate get through a match faster so that dinner comes that much sooner. Thankfully, we also got a hand from Amanda's mom.
Day two was a long day indoors thanks to the rain. Despite this gloomy weather and the fact that everyone had studying to do (especially Jamie with four midterms!), everyone did their best to keep smiling.
Pink-icing cookies, courtesy of Amanda's mom, helped keep spirits high. On the court, our energy stayed high, and it is enthusiasm like Petie's (with the help of her echoing grunts) that let other teams know how serious we are.
On day three came the finals of singles and doubles. A passerby would not have known if it was a regional tournament or an Emory campout. Jolyn, Carina, and myself will be headed to Texas in a couple weeks to play (and scout) the players from other regions.
Besides having a chance to show how much we have practiced, the regional tournament is important to me because it reinforces how friendly and good-spirited are the players on this team. Three nights away from home and school, driving in a van with sweaty people, and having to face a lot of put-off homework could make for an unpleasant group of people, but, as proven this past weekend, that is not what happens on our team.
October 27, 2003 - Jolyn Taylor
OET! TNP! ABC! Those are the cries that filled the hot and muggy coastal air above the HEB tennis courts during ITA fall nationals held in Corpus Christi, Texas.
In addition to the pure joy of competing against top-level athletes, Margaret, Carina, and myself thoroughly enjoyed ourselves while representing the Emory Eagles and placing third in doubles and first in singles.
There was a strong sense of camaraderie as we wound around the surprisingly complex one-way criss-crossing streets of Corpus in our oversized monster of an Expedition. Especially on the second night when we traversed the entire town multiple times in search of the restaurant without a sign that relies instead on the blaring Italian opera music to direct customers.
We considered dinner that night as a warmup for our matches to come so, of course, we dominated the heaping bowls of delicious Italian, served with the hearty side-dishes of spicy sarcasm from the Belizean waiter and heart-warming family and team bonding (several family members came out in support of the team). After such an unforgettable meal, I felt prepared for the next day's matches in my every "mussel."
We had such success after that first group dinner that we knew we had to keep the tradition alive. Switching venues to a local seafood hotspot, our lively group once again created memories not soon to be forgotten.
After sampling native delicacies, such as the fabulous "Oysters Rockefeller" and the surprisingly substantial mosquito chicken, the meal began in earnest with witty banter between families (a new team element might soon be added to our fitness regiment; Dealing with Parents: Playing Tennis Is the Easy Part) and ended with a grand flourish of an enormous brownie ala mode. The real winner I must say though was Coach Smith who, feeling left out of the trophy competition, added to the team hardware tally by smoothly scoring a rare and coveted "wedgie."
Eventually, the Corpus Christi fun had to come to an end, though Coach and I managed to finagle a whole extra day of it. Following the Division III finals that morning, I lost a close, two-plus-hour match to Ms. Broward Community College/Canada/Hungary/Soon to be UCLA in the first round of the Super Bowl, a tough battle that lasted right through our scheduled flight time.
Luckily, Coach Smith is a master of negotiations and she and I were able to find transportation back to home sweet home before the sun rose Monday morning. Sunday provided PLENTY of time for reflection as we wandered the malls, bookstores, gas stations, discount stores, buffets, food courts, magnet stores, and airports.
I realized that no matter whether we were traveling along highways going the wrong direction, bargaining for breakfast from restaurants that "don't really do breakfast," commentating on the World Series, or merely chatting with everyday, friendly airline pilots, we do things here at Emory with true team spirit and heart. My college experience would be hollow and drab without these women and I look forward to all our future adventures together!
February 23, 2004 - Jolyn Taylor
I find myself at a loss for words for this first diary entry. How does one sum up all the team happenings since the last time our lives were captured for cyberspace? Here's the abridged version to catch you up to speed before going on to our last four matches (that's right, we started the season off with four in one week!).
Our team, though lacking the superb leadership of our graduated senior Emily Warburg, has pulled together and forged new bonds with our three amazing freshmen, while solidifying our returning team unity.
Rain or shine, warm or sub-freezing, peaceful or with deafening construction, we have conditioned, we have practiced, and we have lifted. Oh yes, though we are the defending national champion we take nothing for granted. I am incredibly proud to say we are working even harder this year to prepare for the unfolding season.
Not to worry that we might suffer burnout, we are a team that works hard AND plays hard, as demonstrated with our homemade pizza nights complete with arts and crafts. With our team well-fed and pumped, we looked forward to our first matches of the season!
First on Tuesday, Brenau came to challenge the Eagles. They seem to prescribe to the quality not quantity approach; bringing only five solid players instead of the customary six. The Eagles were up to the challenge, however, and defeated the challengers 7-2.
The following day, yet another NAIA team tested our Division III strength with another team rich in international skill. Once again Emory dominated, with an exciting win by our top-notch freshman Richelle Marasigan completing the match.
This brings us to our weekend roadtrip to Sewanne, Tenn. As our van pulled out from behind the gym loaded to capacity with books, bags, and muffins (from our behived...I mean beloved teammate Breana) at eight in the morning, I mentally prepared myself for a long but enjoyable day of tennis.
First came Rhodes. With our devoted fans bringing not only sustenance but also their best cheers, we Eagles felt assured of victory. The three doubles points went to Emory. Emory swept the singles as well except for the gut-wrenching battle at six where another outstanding freshman Amanda Dechert fought hard before falling to a very talented Rhodes player.
A mere half an hour later, Sewanne stepped onto its home courts hoping to break our three-match winning streak. Here it was nothing but Emory all day long. Cries of, "Let's go Emory!" mixed with the answering call of "Go Eagles!" as all our hard work paid off. When the dust settled Emory had won all nine matches!
Our road trips are about so much more than the tennis and it is those intangibles that give our team that little something extra. What does it say about dedication when your teammates brave frostbite to cheer? Or how much love must a teammate have for everyone if they attempt to capture every single waking moment/movement made by any team member with her digital camera?
As we celebrated over puppy chow and fast-food frosties, the excitement and joy was practically palpable. Before rolling into bed Saturday night, I checked all of my teammates' away messages and read the same thing: Hooray for Emory tennis! To add to this I say, "Hooray for Emory tennis and hooray for a season well started!"
March 1, 2004 - Jamie Chan
Wow! Our match against Wofford University last weekend displayed some of the best tennis I have ever seen my fellow teammates play -- the shot selection, strength, and endurance exhibited by everyone was impeccable.
In Atlanta, we get some pretty crazy weather. For example, it rained most of last week, but on Thursday, it SNOWED! What a pleasant surprise for a FL girl! (I'll even send you pictures if you would like to experience this phenomenon for yourself.)
Needless to say, the unpredictable weather made it a little difficult for us to practice, but Coach Amy made sure we were in tip-top shape by putting us through a rigorous spinning workout, and an invigorating sprint workout. It's never a dull moment on this team!
Sunday was a beautiful day for our match against Wofford. We were all pumped and ready to show the "Terriers" some new tricks. With an original, "Let's Go Eagles!" cheer (thought up by Petie), we began the doubles matches.
From the start, Wofford was eager to avenge their loss against us from last year. However, we were more than ready for them. Even though Wofford brought a large crowd of spectators to cheer them on, we didn't mind, because we had our own eclectic cheering section consisting of Mrs. Alberelli, Breana's parents, construction crew workers, roommates, and fellow teammates rooting us on.
We quickly captured all three doubles matches, and moved on to singles. Marge, Carina, and I in like manner sent our opponents away without giving up more than three games each. However, Mary Ellen, Jolyn, and Richelle were pushed to three sets, but were not going to leave the court without a fight.
All the conditioning and weight lifting we had been doing in the Fall and Spring season really make the difference in close matches like these. Richelle won her third set, and notched another win under her belt, while Mary Ellen's amazing winning streak was broken in a close third set to her opponent, whom she had played many times before in high school and in college.
Although disappointed in her loss, Mary Ellen remained the gracious, classy, composed tennis player and person that she is, and knew that she would only get better as a result of this defeat. Mary Ellen isn't super human, but she definitely is close to it in my books!
Jolyn was uncharacteristically the last one finished with her match. Her opponent was a tough, solid player who pushed Jolyn to her limits. Their 30-ball rallies made me tired from just watching them run all over the court after every shot. I especially enjoyed listening to Jolyn as she verbally analyzed her game, and kept pumping herself up.
Everyone could see the fire of determination in Jolyn's eyes as she traded shot for shot with her worthy opponent. As Jolyn hit a smashing, down-the-line backhand winner to clench the third set, she reiterated the fact that Eagles always soar above the rest of their competition.
Our victory over Wofford tested both our mental and physical capacities, and we came out stronger in both aspects. I look forward to experiencing many more awesome victories with the team, and bringing you along for the ride!
March 15, 2004 - Jolyn Taylor
Our much anticipated spring break began when nine of my fellow teammates and I piled, pushed, and pulled our bright-red traveling bags into a van that never seemed so small at 8:30 am in the drizzly morning as it did two Saturdays ago. Coach Smith and assistant coach Mavity navigated city traffic as the rest of us gradually woke up and realized we were on our way. Sunny Southern Cal, here we come!
Sunny only begins to describe the weather; hot, scorching, and beautiful also aptly apply. With sunny skies we knew we had left behind the cares of midterms and snow flurries.
What we didn't know was that California would welcome us with its own special challenges such as van mishaps (we went through three vans before having Mary Ellen step up and drive one mini-van while Coach Smith drove the other), misleading directions (oh the love of the U-turn), and freeway traffic (how do commuters do it everyday?!?). Everyone handled the adversities easily and the majority of the trip was all laughs, smiles, and, of course, seriously good tennis!
Coach Smith was able to accommodate our super-sized traveling squad (Amanda Dechert was a very much missed part of the team, but she was with us in spirit) by mixing up the lineups and having everyone contribute to our dominatingly undefeated match record.
We played Claremont, UCSD, Pomona, and Cal Poly. Through some exceptional and die-hard tennis we came out on top each time. I am impressed all over again each time I watch my teammates fight hard and play amazing tennis!
Some highlights are:
Coming back from being down 2-1 after doubles against UCSD, we played phenomenal singles and won all six. The NCAA Division II team was quite impressed to say the least.
Freshman Richelle coming through in a third-set tie-breaker alongside junior Carina also in a third set against Pomona. Amidst jeering shouts from Pomona fans, both ladies kept their cools and delivered under extreme pressure. The freshman native to California showed her home state that she's all grown up and quite a force to reckon with on the court.
Revenge was sweet against Cal-Poly. Having been our only loss last season, to win 9-0 was especially sweet, though the heat and pollen were suffocating.
Another important part of our break was our many supporters, whether there in body or spirit, contributed to the enjoyment of the trip. I'd like to thank the Chans, Moscatos, Lais, and Taylors for their generosity and cheers.
We also had a surprise visit from one of the men's team players, Lee Friedman, who joined us for our favorite post-game tradition: 21 Choices. I can still taste the fantastic frozen yogurt, all the sweeter after our wins in the scorching weather outside.
What a fantastic trip and I would not have chosen a better way to spend my break than with my teammates who are not only incredible tennis players, but incredible people too!
March 22, 2004 - Jamie Chan
The "Denison Dream Season" came to a halt last weekend after meeting its worst nightmare - the Emory women's tennis team! But here's a little recap of the week preceding our match.
Coming off of a whirlwind spring break domination tour in California, we lost no time in getting back on the courts and polishing a few areas of our games. Before each practice, Coach Amy reminded us that each person would need to play with "heart" and a "fighting spirit" in order to stay focused on our ultimate goal (repeating at Nationals), and continue our domination. Motivated by those words, we attacked each ball with renewed focus and intensity.
Midway into the week, Jolyn, our No. 2 singles player who also plays No. 1 doubles, underwent mini-surgery to remove a cyst from her leg. As a result, she wasn't able to play in our match against Denison - who had just defeated the No. 2 team in the nation. For many other teams and coaches, this unfortunate turn of events probably would've sent a wave of panic coursing through them. But not our team. We all moved up a position in the lineup, and after a week of intense practices, all of us were ready to do battle against the Big Reds.
Saturday greeted us with beautiful weather, and we were all excited to start the match. Cheered on by perhaps our biggest fan gathering yet, including special guests such as President Wagner, Emily Warburg, and honorary coach Judy Raggi-Moore of the Italian department at Emory, we eagerly began the doubles matches.
Margaret and Carina dominated Denison at No. 1 doubles as did Mary Ellen and Petie at No. 3 doubles. However, although Richelle and I tried our best to overcome our doubles opponents, we fell to them 8-6 in a close, well-fought match at No. 2 doubles.
After regrouping, we headed back onto the courts for some singles action, while Jolyn cheered us on, and made a new "friend" with a spectator. It was clear from the beginning that Denison was not going to back down. Therefore, we all knew what we had to do..."Take it!" And we did just that.
We secured three more wins by dominating the competition at No. 1, 2, and 5 singles. However, Margaret and Breana were still neck and neck in their matches, battling against their opponents. Breana's incredible physical fitness, far superior to her opponent's, allowed her to run down every ball to win her two-hour long match.
Although Margaret was down a set in her match, she showed tremendous "heart" and "fighting spirit" and came roaring back to an awesome 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 finish. What an exciting way to finish a match! We knew we would be tested in our match against Denison, but we studied...I mean...practiced hard, and passed with flying colors!
This weekend we'll be traveling to Virginia to take on Redlands, DePauw, and UC-Santa Cruz. It should be fun! Check back for more details!
March 29, 2004 - Jolyn Taylor
Last weekend we took to the road to test our strength against some worthy teams across the nation at the Fab Five Tournament held at Washington and Lee University, VA.
Flying out Thursday after a short but intense practice gave us the chance to become acclimated to the charmingly tiny town of Lexington. We were greeted by the barks, yaps, and howls of the canine visitors to a doggy training camp, hosted by our hotel. After bidding our canine companions good night, we hit the books before getting some much enjoyed rest.
Friday morning the whole team slept in before enjoying a delicious breakfast (provided by the Taylors) and heading over to the courts to scope out our opponents. We perused our lunch options in the quaint town, quaint being a euphemism for no bathrooms, no credit cards accepted, only half the menu actually offered, and no sense of "hustle."
Despite our "quaint" experience we dominated against the University of the Redlands with all twelve matches falling to Emory. There were twelve matches because we not only were able to play our standard three doubles and six singles matches, but we were also able to play a fourth doubles, and seventh and eighth singles.
Domination was our theme for the weekend with Saturday and Sunday's matches against DePauw and UC Santa Cruz following suit. Whether indoors or outdoors, we stuck to our goals (announced during each team huddle and reinforced during our matches by an extra yell) and focused on representing Emory athletics to our best abilities. Everyone cheered for each other and kept each other pumped until the very last match came off the court each day.
Off the court as well as on, we had a great time. Nothing too crazy; nights full of biology, sociology, and cozy dinners with the Chans, Taylors, and Lais and days full of tennis, snacking (some pack quite a "Kix"...er kick), and team bonding full of crazy cheers, innumerable laughs, and quality hotel lounging.
All in all, this was my favorite trip so far. I only see our season building in momentum!
April 5, 2004 - Jamie Chan
Ah! Spring is in the air! But that doesn't mean we're going to "stop and smell the flowers." With only a few more weeks until nationals, every practice and match is approached with high intensity and unparalleled focus.
On Wednesday, we were scheduled to play against Clayton College and State University. Everything was going as planned: the sun was beaming down on us, (the fluffy white clouds reminded Mary Ellen of "The Simpson's" cartoon), we warmed up, stretched, and did the match lineups.
However, just as we were about to start the matches, ominous dark clouds, tornado-like winds, and cold rain replaced the previously perfect weather. Amused, we took shelter in the gym, and waited to see if the weather would turn around. To pass the time, we chatted with Bobbi Patterson, our "guest coach," and munched on bagels provided by Breana's mother, and chocolate cupcakes, courtesy of Carina's culinary expertise.
After 30 minutes, the weather was still stormy, so the match
against the Lakers was cancelled. Perhaps we'll be able to test our
mettle against them another time!
On Saturday, we woke up early and drove to Montgomery, AL, for our rematch against Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM). We arrived at the AUM courts with plenty of time to spare.
As we were warming up, we were treated to a concert by Toby Keith. We weren't able to actually see where the music was coming from, so although we heard the music and the people cheering, we weren't sure if it really was Toby Keith giving a live concert 9:30 a.m.. Marge hypothesized that he was singing at a baseball game during "halftime." I thought the singing and cheering were coming from a really loud radio nearby. Well, regardless of where the music was coming from, and whether it was live of not, we sure got a nice concert!
Our match was scheduled to be played at 10 a.m., but by 9:45 a.m., AUM had not shown up yet. Puzzled, Coach Amy made a few phone calls and found out that we were at the wrong courts (she was never told which courts to be at, even after multiple phone calls beforehand).
So, we loaded up the van and made the "five-minute" journey to the "nearby" courts. However, the directions given to us wouldn't have gotten us out of a paper bag, much less to the courts (2002 UAA flashback!).
So, after approximately 25 minutes of U-Turns, "veering" onto the highway, and making a "quick left turn" we finally arrived at the courts, thanks to some help from our men's tennis team (who were also at the tournament). Needless to say, we were all ready to get on the courts and take on AUM.
Our enthusiasm and "heart" showed during all the doubles
matches, but unfortunately, all three matches went to AUM. Not to
be outdone so easily, we regrouped, refocused, and began our
singles matches with renewed intensity.
Although each Eagle battled courageously, the Lady Senators laid down the law, winning five out of the six singles matches. Mary Ellen was the lone victor, effortlessly soaring past her opponent to reach her 100th career singles win -- making her the first Emory player ever to attain that mark! Awesome! Although we didn't come out victorious against AUM, each of us was pushed to a higher level of play that will ultimately benefit us in the matches to come.
This weekend, we are traveling to Boston to face some high caliber teams, but we're confident and ready to dominate whatever comes our way! Go, Eagles!
April 12, 2004 - Jolyn Taylor
What a whirlwind weekend! We left Thursday afternoon and didn't stop until 11:30 pm Sunday night when we dragged our tired, but victorious bodies back to campus and caught some well-deserved shuteye.
We took on Tufts, Amherst, and Williams, all of which are top
Division III competitors and all of which had home court advantage.
No matter the conditions, though, whether sunny and beautiful,
freezing and hurricane-strength winds, or indoors on mats, our
versatile team stepped up to the occasion and "took it!"
First was Tufts, closest to Boston of the three, and the first to feel the strength of Emory tennis. Doubles was close, but all three went Emory's way once the final balls fell. In singles everyone played very well and our only loss came at the hands of a very capable girl who Carina Alberelli just barely lost to while playing No. 2singles (I was still a little weak from a recent illness and played three for the day).
As soon as we took out the Jumbos we loaded up and headed to the accommodations for the night, complete with vaulted ceilings (only the best for Emory tennis). While some of us studied and made food runs, others took in movies to relax before Amherst the next day.
After a nice breakfast at the hotel we piled into the two sleek,
black SUVs and headed off to the courts. After taking an
inadvertent tour of campus (complete with visits to the golf club
and feed supply store), we found the tennis courts; or should I say
Not to be thrown off balance by the gales, we all stepped it up and dominated in singles and doubles (except for the No. 2 position, this time played by yours truly who had a close match against a tough opponent). Into the SUVs again and amid pretzels, bagels, and lots and lots of chocolate we wound our way through the mountains, past the rivers, past almost all forms of civilization, to the quaint town of Williamstown, MA, home to Williams College.
Though near freezing, the sun was shining and we assumed we would face our opponents outside. Contrary to popular belief, however, the distant chance of rain was enough to push the match indoor onto the mats/hockey rink/tennis courts. Not to be flustered, Emory sent the Ephs out to pasture. It was our closest match of the season so far, with huge wins coming from Jamie Chan and Margaret Moscato in clutch matches. What an egg-cellent job on Easter Sunday!
No account of the weekend would be complete without thanks going
out to our loyal fans, mascot, and our beloved coach Amy Smith.
Thank you for the snacks and cheers, and for bringing the most
precious dog I have ever met!
Also, Petie Chapman and Breana Lai were huge factors not only on the courts but in terms of team morale. I have never known a team to laugh harder and longer than when we all get together before, during, and after matches. Whether nearly having heart attacks cheering for teammates, giving a good "keyword" cheer, or studying hard for sociology exams (wait, that didn't happen...I mean playing paddleball in Logan airport) they added that extra something to this trip that made this weekend most enjoyable.
One final thank you goes out to the Easter Bunny (aka Mrs. Chapman) who somehow managed to surprise us Sunday morning with a gorgeous Easter basket filled with goodies. Thank you and Happy Easter!
April 19, 2004 - Jamie Chan
Our victory against Washington & Lee on Friday truly was a
sweet victory (due in part to Mrs. Gordon's puppy chow, banana
bread, fruit, and other goodies). It was a rematch of last year's
Nationals final in which we won a close victory. This year, we
decisively dominated the Generals, 8-1. However, it was also a
bittersweet day because it was "Senior Day" which marked the last
home match of the season for our seniors, Mary Ellen and
Before the match, many little "elves" scurried around the tennis courts putting up signs honoring M.E. and Marge and decorating the courts. Many family members and friends were present to celebrate this special day.
Our domination began with doubles. M.E. and Jolyn rocked their opponents, and while Marge and Carina were battling out a tough match against their opponents, Richie and I continued the Eagle domination by quickly winning our match. As usual, Marge and Carina pulled through to bring us to a solid 3-0 lead.
In singles, we tend to "race" each other to see who can get off the court first (with a victory, of course). It's usually M.E., Jolyn, Marge, or Carina who finish rather quickly leaving either Richie or I on the courts still in our first sets. However, this was not the case against W & L...yours truly was the first one to finish! A feat that barely ever occurs!
Marge and Carina were the next to soundly defeat their opponents
and join me in cheering our teammates. M.E. and Jolyn each faced
formidable opponents and had close first sets, but they soon
figured out how to overcome their opponents and dominate them.
Richie fought bravely, pushed her feisty opponent to a tough third
set, but could not overcome her, and fell in the third.
Afterwards, we had a special "Senior Day" celebration during which we munched on cookies, chips and salsa, and our favorite...Brusters ice cream cake! Yum! We also watched Marge's "recruiting video" and discovered that she still owns and wears a pair of tennis shorts dating back to freshman year (of high school!). That's quite an accomplishment!
M.E. was presented with a t-shirt that said, "Air Gordon" on it
because she is always asked if she plays basketball because of her
big hands. The celebration reminded me of how special our seniors
are and how much we'll miss them next year. But it's not the end of
the season yet, so they'll still be with us for awhile!
This weekend we're headed to Rochester, NY, for the UAA conference tournament. It'll be cold up there, but we're bringing some HOTlanta Eagles tennis to warm things up! Let's go, Emory!
April 26, 2004 - Jolyn Taylor
Our 17th straight UAA tournament came to a resounding conclusion this past drizzly and dreary Sunday morning in Rochester, NY, with the 17th straight Emory title.
I've come away from last weekend with a newfound love for the warm and sunny south. Being a native Floridian I just couldn't learn to like the frigid weather in late April even though the tournament couldn't have been run better nor the people from Rochester more pleasant.
The highlights of the trip, however, I have to say revolve more around my lively teammates than the tennis courts.
As it was our seniors' last trip, we started off with a little bit of nostalgia, glancing over pictures taken at our last practice. Our two seniors, Mary Ellen and Margaret, can certainly be hams and showed off their photogenic sides with various juggling and court poses.
Speaking of photographs, a new team hobby seems to be taking candid camera pictures of their poor, tired, and resting teammates. Those long cars trips across New York state in order to see the sights around Niagara Falls can be sedating; it's a good thing I've got my teammates there to document my trip for me as I slept peacefully. I never knew I could sleep in a position that looked that uncomfortable!
Too bad the cameras weren't put in action when we found the tastiest deli in all of Rochester, or enjoyed our fun team meals with the Marisigans (thank you SO much for the dinners and support, you made being so far from home a pleasant trip!), or even during the finals of the championship filled with royal blue bandanas. It was an exciting and rewarding trip, complete with lots of quality team bonding interspersed with focused studying because of our upcoming finals (wish us luck!). This team can make anything a good time!
One final note before closing, I would like to personally thank Dr. Chan for taking time out of his very busy day to help me. You were a lifesaver! I suppose I should also mention how supportive Coach Smith was in helping me stick to the BRAT diet for most of the trip. Trust me, the South Beach Diet has nothing on this new and improved dieting option for those faint of stomach and needing to compete!
May 3, 2004 - Jamie Chan
The rains that plagued us in Rochester, NY, two weeks ago revisited us last weekend during the NCAA regional tournament. However, that didn't stop us from totally dominating our competition, giving us a place in the quarterfinals at nationals.
Patience and flexibility were the key words for last weekend. Regionals were hosted at our home courts, but we didn't have the opportunity to play our matches on them because of the rain. We were slated to play Saturday against Rhodes College, who had beaten University of the South. Before we went to bed on Friday night, Coach Amy told us that there was a high possibility of rain on Saturday, and to check our e-mail at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday for the plan of action. That night, I went to bed to the sound of torrential rain and thunder.
Saturday, 7:30 a.m.: Although the courts were soaked from the previous night's rains and the skies were threatening to once again pour down on us, Coach Amy, the eternal optimist, sent us a peppy e-mail that said "Let's squeegee!"
Saturday, 8 a.m.: Coach Amy's enthusiasm was inspirational, and soon we were all out of our warm, comfortable beds squeegeeing (yup, that's how you spell it...I had to look it up in the dictionary) the rain drenched courts. After more than two hours of doing as much squeegeeing, toweling, and water blowing (similar to leaf blowing) as was possible, the courts were just starting to show signs of drying. The skies were looking a little clearer, too. But alas, our hard work was not to be rewarded.
Saturday, 10 a.m.: RAIN! Yes, the dreaded "R" word had returned. It started raining. While we were waiting for the rain to stop, Marc, one of our assistant coaches, showed us the finer points of rowing while Julie used the downtime to string a racquet. Finally, the decision was made to go indoors and start play at 1:30 p.m. After a quick uniform change into our new, spiffy, Anna Kournikova-esque tank tops, we loaded the van and headed to the Racquet Club of the South (RCS).
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: After warming up, we started the doubles matches and quickly won all of them to take a 3-0 lead. Similarly, Mary Ellen, Jolyn, Carina, and Richie swept their singles matches. Since the match was only played until decision, Marge and I weren't able to complete our singles matches, but we did manage to play a few points against our opponents. Although Breana and Petie weren't able to participate in the match play, the hardworking duo found an alternative form of exercise -- working out in the fitness room of the RCS (this was Breana's second time working out this day! Well, if you count the intense squeegeeing, it'd be her third...She's an Energizer bunny!)
Although the weather last weekend wasn't the most accommodating for tennis, we didn't let it have an effect on our stellar performance. We proved that we can look good AND win at the same time...Anna Kournikova should take a lesson from us! We arrived on campus exhausted, but in high spirits from our win. After hitting tennis balls all day, we still had to "hit the books" to prepare for our exams. Good luck, my fellow teammates! And many thanks to all the Athletics and Recreation personnel that helped prepare the courts for regionals.
May 20, 2004 - Jolyn Taylor
The skies remained dark and overcast but Emory shone throughout the weekend and came out victorious with 1-2 finishes in singles and doubles.
Mary Ellen and I played a three-hour, three-set, unbelievably good tennis match for the singles championship and I am proud to say she earned the title. She made history Monday and deserves every bit of recognition she receives.
Another player to watch is Carina, who more than earned her national "Player to Watch" award by placing in the top eight in the nation in singles. ¡Vamos Cari!
In the doubles final Mary Ellen and I teamed up against Margaret and Carina for a fierce battle, with Mary Ellen and I eventually coming out on top for the second straight year. The match before, she and I had watched and cheered like crazy as Marge and Carina took out the Washington & Lee (Va.) doubles team in a come-from-behind nail-biter. It's safe to say Emory just plain dominated!
It's always hard to say goodbye, especially when I might not see my teammates again for quite some time, but when we end on such a high note it makes parting such sweet sorrow. Marge, Carina, Mary Ellen, and I will all be in Atlanta for part of this summer so we delayed our final farewells, but as for most of the others we said a swift and sad goodbye at 4:30 am Saturday morning as they rushed out to catch their flight.
Our assistant coaches were phenomenal all year and Marc was even able to stay throughout the individual competition. I would be remiss if I didn't thank all our loyal supporters (Emory families are top notch, for sure) and Coach Smith for the patience on the court and the TCBY runs off the court. Thanks everyone for another amazing season!
May 27, 2004 - Jamie Chan
Mission: Accomplished! We've captured the 2004 NCAA national women's tennis championship! After months of sweat, tears, and hard work, our awesome team has once again proved that we're No. 1. Two of our team goals for this season were to "enjoy the journey" and, of course, win. I am pleased to report that we have successfully accomplished those goals in addition to many others.
The week before nationals was filled with many activities that kept us busy. Final exams, presentations, research papers, and packing were a few of the not-so-fun activities. Fortunately, those were buffeted by more enjoyable ones such as a relaxing cookout at Coach Amy's charming house, a scrumptious dinner and delectable dessert at M.E.'s house, a Braves game, and movies. We also spent plenty of time on the courts fine-tuning certain aspects of our games to prepare us for our competition at nationals.
This year, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to travel with all three of our assistant coaches -- Marc, Glen, and Julie -- in addition to our head coach, Amy. While we greatly appreciated their added insight to the game, we also enjoyed watching how their unique, individual personalities complemented our team. We could always count on Glen and Marc to provide us with encouraging words as well as comic relief during the trip, and Julie to chauffeur us to TCBY and keep us calm and focused on the court.
Although Glen and Marc almost missed our flight to Memphis (due to an unforeseen traffic accident), all 12 Eagles landed safely in the hometown of "The King." As we stepped off of the plane, we were greeted by a very warm gust of air. However, we were prepared for the warm Tennessee weather because we had trained in HOTlanta. As we waited for Amy and Julie to pick up the rental van, we cooled ourselves down by taking sips of water from the decorated, candy-filled Nalgene water bottles each of us were given (courtesy of Julie), and by standing in front of the sliding glass doors to take advantage of the cool blast of AC.
After we loaded up the van and mini-van, we headed to the hotel and arrived after only a few U-Turn trips through random parking lots. After we settled into our rooms and unpacked, we headed to Corky's Bar-B-Que to fill our stomachs with some good 'ol southern cooking. We left Corky's fully satisfied and further enlightened in the language of the South. (Thanks to Petie, "slaw!" became one of our key words that week.)
On Tuesday, we practiced at Rhodes, and then headed back to the hotel where some of us swam, laid out by the pool, slept, ran, or watched T.V. That night, we attended an opening banquet and had the privilege of hearing a speech delivered by Dave Wottle, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Rhodes, and a gold medalist in the 800m race in the 1972 Munich Olympics. His challenge to us was inspirational and enhanced by the fact that each of us was allowed to hold his gold medal. What an awesome feeling it was to cradle an Olympic gold medal in the palm of my hand! His speech further encouraged my desire to strive for the first place finish at nationals.
East met West in our first day of competition as we were matched up against University of Redlands (CA). During our warmup, Lindsay, Amanda, and Katherine arrived to complete our team. (After their final exams, they had spent some time with their families before joining us at nationals.) I'm glad each of them could join us because each team member plays an integral part in our success as a team.
Although it was supposed to rain that day, and the rest of the week, the weather was cooperating with us and allowed all three doubles matches to be completed, with Emory dominating each one. However, midway through the singles matches, the heavens opened up and showered us with rain, forcing us to move indoors. M.E., Marge, Carina, and Richie swept their matches in straight sets while Jolyn and I were unfortunately cut short in our second sets because the lights were turned off. (Jolyn was ahead in her match at 6-3, 5-0 and I was ahead 6-1, 5-2, 40-love, and serving for match point.) We ended the match 7-0, without losing a set.
On the second day of competition, we were slated to face Washington & Lee University (VA), as they sought to avenge their loss to us in the finals of last year's nationals. Once again, the rains thwarted our chances of playing the match outside, so we took on the Generals indoors. Doubles set the tone of the match as M.E. and Jolyn totally rocked their opponents. Richie and I followed their example and didn't give our opponents an inch. Likewise, Marge and Carina defeated their opponents in a thrilling match complete with amazing angle volleys and smash overheads. Throughout our singles matches, the support of our teammates and families helped carry us through to a 5-0 team victory.
For our final match, we were indoors again, and Amherst College (MA) was our challenger. We were more than ready for them. Because our match was at 2 p.m., we took an early morning jog around the hotel while dodging mud puddles and leaping over wayward tree branches. Crewmen from CBS filmed our jog and synchronized stretching. They then filmed us as we got our competitive juices flowing in our Second Annual Name Game tournament. (During the game, Lindsay learned that "Marie Antoinette" was NOT a nurse, associated with the Red Cross, or an author. We also enjoyed Marc's impersonations of Elvis and Marie Antoinette.)
Prepared for our match, we arrived at the courts ready to warm up, but were surprised to see Williams (MA) and W & L still on the courts battling for third place. Finally, after a somewhat confusing game of Mafia and a few hours of waiting around, three courts opened up and we were allowed to begin the doubles matches while Williams and W & L continued their nail-biting struggle.
Our army of fans, including the Lais, Gordons, Taylors, Mr. Alberelli, Marge's dad, Marge's brother and his wife, Emily Warburg, and my parents joined Lindsay, Amanda, Breana, Glen, and Marc to cheer us on to victory. Once again, doubles played an important factor in the match. As we swept all three doubles matches, we gained tremendous momentum as we headed into the six singles matches.
Unfortunately, because we were indoors, the spectators were forced to view the matches from behind a tinted glass enclosure. However, that did not stop our enthusiastic fans and energetic teammates from letting their cheers and presence be made known. With the constant waving of pom poms, glass-pounding, and excited cheers we heard coming from our teammates, our seniors, M.E. and Marge, sealed our victory with two dominating wins! Tears came to my eyes as the realization hit me...WE HAD WON NATIONALS!
Soon, parents and friends were streaming onto the court to take pictures and congratulate us. We took a countless number of pictures with the trophy, without the trophy, as a team, with parents, and even while wearing Elvis-like glasses (much thanks to Amy's mom). It truly was a sweet victory.
That night, we attended the closing ceremony banquet where Mary Ellen was honored with the "Senior Player of the Year" award and Carina's awesome season this year earned her the national award of "Player to Watch." The dinner provided by Rhodes was once again delicious, and the dessert bar consisting of fruit fondue was absolutely finger-licking good. Richie, the incredible, bottomless eating machine, enjoyed the dessert so much that she downed three plates piled high with chocolate covered fruit after two servings of dinner.
Mary Ellen, one of our senior captains, and perhaps the most decorated athlete to ever grace the halls and tennis courts of Emory, will leave us with many fond memories. Her graceful yet dominating style of play and quiet, gentle nature will be greatly missed by all of us. Thank you, M.E., for all that you have contributed to our team throughout the years. As you make your way in the world, may your future accomplishments outnumber your many tennis accomplishments (if possible).
Likewise, Margaret, another senior captain, will always be remembered as a soft-spoken, focused individual who could always let out a roaring burp on command, and hit any volley that came her way. Her steadiness and reserved, competitive spirit made her a force to be reckoned with on the tennis court. Her athletic success greatly mirrors her success in academics. Thank you, Marge, for leading by example, and good luck as you further your education at Emory's prestigious medical school.
I wish our graduating seniors the best of luck as they leave the college world and head out into the future. I am confident that each of their accomplishments on the tennis court will only lead to greater things in the future.
On behalf of the team, I would like to thank Coach Amy for her patience and expert coaching, our assistant coaches, parents, and supporters for making this an incredible journey I will never forget. I look forward to another extraordinary season next year!