Pomona-Pitzer Women's Tennis Blog
Lea Lynn Yen '16 (pictured) will be periodically blogging here on Sagehens.com to provide fans with an insider's look at her team's season. Follow along with her as the NCAA West Region finalist Sagehens Women's Team tries to get back to nationals this spring.
May 23, 2015
On the Conclusion of the 2015 Season
Two weekends ago was Regionals, the first rounds of the NCAA tournament. Pomona-Pitzer in the recent past has consistently gotten to the finals of the region, and in my last three years, every final has been against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Although we put up a good fight, CMS was able to clinch the win and thus our season came to an end. But what a great season it has been! Even though the last loss always stings a little bit, when I look back on the season, the most salient memories are the times that we showed so much heart, whether it was Emily K. pulling through to clinch a huge match for us when the pressure was on, Shivani’s passionate “Here we go, hens!” after winning a big point to pump everyone else up, or Mallory being just the absolutely most spirited Hen ever. I’ll also remember the post-match meetings, when we come together as a team to reflect on the match and vow to keep working hard so we can be prepared for the next match. I’ll remember all the hilarious times we shared together, whether it was someone (usually the captains) messing up the pre-match cheer, the warm-up mix prank during intersquad, the Sagehen dance team consisting of Mallory and Marie giving us energy before the final match, and all the little inside jokes we had with each other that made us sound like we were hardly speaking English anymore. My favorite part about this team is the ability to have the funniest moments in my life resulting in laughing attacks (especially Maddie) while still being able to switch into a serious mode to work extremely hard and perform at a high level during matches. I’m incredibly lucky to call my best friends my teammates and spend so much time with them year round. It’s been a great run, Hens. Can’t wait to see us absolutely wreak havoc next year.
Thank you to all the friends and family that have come out to support us this season! We are very, very blessed to have the best fans in the world who support us unconditionally. I personally would like to thank my teammates’ parents for taking care of all of us as if we were their own, inviting us over to their home and making us food. I would also like to thank my own parents of course for their love and support, and coming out to the matches that they could. Lastly, I would like to give a huge shoutout to my friends, especially my suitemates, for coming out to support me during my matches even if they didn’t really understand tennis (haha). Thank you everyone for a great team season; hope to see you back here next school year!
May 20, 2015
Near the end or at the end of every season, we hold a team banquet in which we usually give out awards and eat good food. For the past three years, we’ve had food from Buca di Beppo, a family-style Italian restaurant that I’ve come to adore through the years (their Carbonara is crazy good). Usually we just eat, socialize, and give out awards and presents, but this year was quite different. Because of some very welcome additions to the usual ceremony, I can say with confidence that this was my favorite banquet in my three years so far on the team.
Coach Ann drove up to meet us for banquet, which was extremely special to all of us. While we ate, she entertained us with tennis stories from her past and gave us very valuable advice. As we were finishing up dinner, we started the awards ceremony. Usually there are just two awards given out that are voted on by the team, but this year we had a couple extra awards. This year included the inaugural “ShivEm Awards”, which are award certificates created by Shivani and Emily Chen, with different awards given to each person on the team. The honors were full of puns, inside jokes, and just some typical Sagehen Tennis hilarity, and it was definitely the hardest that I had laughed in quite a while (I was literally crying laughing). Then the coaches gave out the annual awards, which are the Dinosaur award (fiercest competitor) and Sagehen Spirit award. I was really honored to have gotten the former award and was lucky to share the moment with Mallory, who definitely deserved the spirit award. Mallory was also the recipient of our also inaugural Captain’s Award, recognizing her contribution to the program. Lastly, we gave the coaches their presents which were photo collages signed by everyone on the team as well as a small gift. We really appreciate all the hard work the coaches have put in this season, helping us reach towards our potentials and caring for us both on and off the court. We would be nowhere without their passion and dedication every day. Cheers to the best banquet ever!
April 28, 2015
Young Sagehens Compete Hard At Ojai
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to compete at the Ojai tournament this year, but we were able to send a young and talented squad out to represent the Sagehens in the annual tournament. The Ojai, which is a prestigious tournament in its 115th year, is the oldest tournament in this area. The tournament hosts a lot of different players, including juniors, college players in many divisions (including the PAC-12 tournament), and women’s and men’s opens. Throughout the numerous sites that help host the tournament, there is always excellent tennis going on anywhere and everywhere a spectator goes, as all the players are elite players in their regions. This year, we were able to have six players in the draw, with five playing singles (Emily C., Emily K., Mary, Shivani, Grace) and two doubles teams (Maddie and Mary, Shivani and Emily C.). We joked that Maddie would have to be the leader of this group, as she was the only sophomore with a swarm of freshmen. Since I was unable to make it to the first day and a half, I did not get to witness any “leadership” that may have happened within the group, but when I arrive Friday night, they were all still alive, so that was good (just joking guys).
The all-freshmen singles group did well in the tournament. In the past couple of years, the singles and doubles draw have been mostly a SCIAC conference-dominated one with a couple of other schools in the area, but this year we had to face a substantial amount of non-Division III opponents from schools like Grand Canyon, Abilene Christian, and Westmont. These players definitely raised the bar for the amount of talent in the draw, which showed as all the winners and finalists of both the singles and doubles draws were from Abilene Christian. Out of our five singles players, four of the five advanced to the round of 16, and four of the five (not exactly the same four) all fell to non-Division III opponents. The fact that we made up a fourth of the round of 16 is definitely something worth mentioning, as they all had to battle through two rounds to get there. I am incredibly proud of their efforts in both singles and doubles.
When I joined the group on Saturday, we went to Thacher in the morning to watch some of our men’s team play, then drove to Libbey Park to watch some PAC-12 action. We were able to catch some of the PAC-12 invitational draws as well as some CIF (high school) finals. I was a little bummed that we didn’t get to watch the men’s or women’s PAC-12 finals, which I got to watch last year and was definitely a treat, but we still had a chance to watch some great tennis. After a quick lunch in Ojai, the team headed back to good ol’ Claremont. Now we are right back to the grind, preparing for SCIACs this weekend. Come out on Friday and Saturday to cheer us on! Go Hens!
April 23, 2015
Team Interviews Part I: Emily Chen '18
I definitely haven’t done one of these in a while (more than a year, actually…), so let’s bring back the team interviews! I’m going to be changing up the questions to make it a little more fun. First, we are going to have Emily Chen, a freshman from Houston, Texas, better known as EmChen to the rest of us.
Lea Lynn: Welcome to your interview, EmChen. Are you scared?
EmChen: Well I’m looking at pictures of guinea pigs. (She starts watching a video of a guinea pig dubbed with a human voice. It’s pretty funny but extremely strange. She is literally laughing out loud. She now moves onto other dubbed animals and is still laughing. This interview is not going too well)
L: Are you done?
E: No! One more. “Cosmic Guinea Pig”! Guinea pigs have really cute mouths.
L: Ok you’re done. How’s packing for Ojai going?
E: It’s going great! I have 98% of my clothes in that bag.
L: And how long did it take you to do that?
E: The actual packing? About 5 minutes. The getting to the packing part took 45 minutes and a bag of trail mix.
L: Those are some accurate statements. Can I ask you about your inability to multitask?
E: If you must.
E: (Shows me meme after meme of guinea pigs. They’re actually quite funny)
L: This interview is going very well in my opinion. If you had a pet guinea pig, what would be its name?
E: Lil Debbie or Tokyo Diva. I would have two guinea pigs.
L: Those are some interesting choices for pet names. I’m not going to ask you to explain them. Ok here’s a harder question. If you had to assign spirit animals to everyone on the team, what would each person be?
E: This is hard! Maddie would be a labradoodle. Gosh this is so difficult. Can I have an easier question? Mary would be a pug. Grace would be a little puppy that doesn’t know how to walk yet and keeps falling down. Mal would be a hummingbird. Shivani is a wolf.
L: Ok this is taking too long…we are going to move on now. If you had to be stuck on an island with a teammate, who would it be and why?
E: I would pick Marie because I feel like she has survival skills. And you (Lea Lynn). Do I even have to explain that?
L: Well, I appreciate that, but I would hate to be stuck on an island in the first place. But thanks! One last question. If you had to give us a new mascot, what would it be?
E: A fat guinea pig.
L: What a perfect ending. Thank you for your time, I sincerely enjoyed this. Any closing remarks?
E: LAAASSS GOO HENS
-end of interview-
April 16, 2015
Junior Appreciation Day!
I have noted before many times how lucky I am to be a part of this team. My experience on the team was one of a different perspective this year, but it was just as great. I have been (and still am!) fortunate enough to lead a wonderful team as a co-captain this year. Mae and I earned a lot of valuable experience running captain’s practices in the fall, and Marie and I have been trying our best to be the leaders that our teammates can look up to during the spring season. Our efforts did not go unnoticed, as we were honored on what was traditionally “senior day”, which is usually the last home game of the season. Of course, there were no seniors to honor, and the underclassmen surprised Marie and I by making us posters and getting us gift boxes that included some awesome gear and goodies. I knew something was a little suspicious when I saw Mallory carrying two large posters down to the team room one day, but nothing could have prepared me for all the gifts and loving words that we received. I was extremely touched and it really reminded me of how much I loved the team. I have been blessed with amazing teammates that I get to lead for another year, and it will be even more exciting when I will be able to have both Mae and Marie by my side at the same time, since this year they were gone in different semesters. I will definitely use all the experience we gained this semester to improve ourselves even more next year. Until then, we still have Ojai and the post-season to look forward to!
April 9, 2015
Hens Take On Relay For Life
If you are on this site reading this blog, chances are, you have already read our sports information director’s coverage of Relay for Life. Here’s a quick recap for those who haven’t: Relay For Life is an event held by the club Claremont Colleges Against Cancer every year, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. It is a 24-hour event full of fun events with the primary goal being raising money towards cancer research as well as raising general awareness. Groups all over the five colleges come together to create teams, who spend the 24 hours together and compete against each other for fundraising goals. This was the second year that the Pomona-Pitzer athletes came together to create a team for the event, and I was really honored to have been the team co-captain alongside my good friend Alaina Woo (women’s basketball). We ended up raising over $2000 and finished fifth out of 44 teams for fundraising.
We separated the 24 hours into shifts for different teams because many of the athletes were in season and could not make it to the first half of the event. We had representation from almost every sport, which was an awesome thing to see. Some girls on my team (shoutout to Mary, Maddie, and Emily Chen) grinded out the dark hours, pulling a 3 AM shift so that we could have all our bases covered. I ended up taking the last shift of the event alongside some softball girls and my fellow SAAC (student-athlete advisory committee) member Alice Timken (track and field). We were able to stay for the closing ceremony, which was well worth it. We were pleasantly surprised and humbled to have been awarded a “spirit award” for our dedication to the event, which we showed by having people on the track walking or running for the entire 24 hours. Since one of the mottos for Relay For Life is that “Cancer Never Sleeps”, having someone on the track during those late hours really makes a big difference. Almost everyone has been touched by cancer in some way in their lives, so this is an event that means a lot to many of us. I was beyond happy with the Pomona-Pitzer athletes’ dedication to this event, and I am looking forward to more inter-sports activities in the future!
April 7, 2015
Hi everyone! It’s been quite a while since my last post; I apologize about that. There’s been quite a bit going on and I can’t wait for all of you to hear about it! Between the last post and now, we have started and almost ended regular season. Starting in mid/late-February, we began our regular season matches, and have played 15 of our 17 matches. Within these two months we have played a tough schedule, playing numerous teams in the top 10 in the nation as well as several in the top 20. Our last two matches are this weekend, with our traditional campus rivalry game with CMS on Friday and another conference opponent La Verne on Saturday. We are currently a perfect 6-0 against conference opponents, and we are hoping to stretch that win streak after this weekend. Our wonderful Sports Information Director uploads lots of win-videos and “victory squares” on the internet, so if you are reading this blog, it is more than likely that you have already seen all of those. In my opinion, we are having a very solid season and will be a formidable team going into the conference (SCIAC) tournament and likely the post-season.
I’d like to take this time to highlight some things about our team that have stood out to me this season. In the past two years that I’ve been on the team, we have had anywhere from 12 to 16 girls on the team, split pretty evenly between upperclassmen and underclassmen. The lineup is always pretty dynamic, but typically again, it would be split pretty evenly between the different grades. In this regard, we have a pretty atypical team this year. We have no seniors, which was a little strange in the beginning, because typically by default, we look up to the seniors for team leadership and advice. However, the juniors (Marie, Mae, and I) stepped up to the plate and acted as leaders for the year. However, as I have emphasized many times to my teammates, everyone is a leader. The juniors may have had the most experience, but every single person brings something wonderful to the table. The freshmen make up a big portion of the team (and currently even outnumber the returners). Because of this (and of course credit to their hard work and talent), the freshmen make up most of the lineup. Although inexperience in college matches could be dangerous, they have stepped up in a huge way to lead this team to yet another great season and I am incredibly proud of their efforts.
Coming up soon are some other blogs on off-court celebrations and traditions that have happened, as well as an Ojai preview (my favorite tournament of the year!). Hopefully, I will also get around to individual interviews (throwback to freshman year) and maybe some guest blogs! Stay tuned~
February 17, 2015
Nationals Girls and Women in Sports Day 2015
A couple of weeks ago, Pomona-Pitzer celebrated National Girls and Women in sports day by hosting a morning full of activities for local middle school girls. This special day is dedicated to celebrate the achievements of women in all levels of athletics, whether it is at the collegiate level, professional, and so on, as well as advocating for even more female representation nationally for all kinds of sports. This day was promoted by the Women’s Sports Foundation, a globally recognized foundation founded by Billie Jean King, who all of you know as the professional tennis player and social activist. The Women’s Sports Foundation is dedicated to “[advancing] the lives of women and girls through sports and physical activity”. In the past two years, the tennis team has been in charge of serving lunch, but this year we switched gears and were in charge of running a tennis clinic for the girls. I found this change extremely welcome as we were able to interact more closely with the girls while teaching them about a sport that means a lot to each one of us. The girls were extremely enthusiastic and clearly happy to be there, as they participated happily in every single drill and appeared to have a great time. We started out with some hand-eye coordination drills before moving onto the basic shots like the forehand and backhand. Then we played some team games and culminated with a big game with everyone on the same court before sending the girls off and waiting for the next rotation. After the tennis clinic was over, we all headed over to our gym where lunch was served by the lacrosse team. During lunch, we got to continue having fun with the middle school children, talking about everything from our favorite movies to our favorite sports. It was truly a great day of both service and a whole lot of fun!
December 16, 2014
Last Day of Fall Practice and Secret Santa Gift Exchange!
Just as classes were wrapping up for the semester, fall practices were finishing up as well. As Mae and I were the only two upperclassmen here for the fall semester (two other juniors are abroad), we ran “captains’ practices” running from early October to the end of the semester. It’s definitely been quite a journey these few months; we were leading a very young team, but it was definitely a young team full of individuals who valued hard work over anything else. Even though we only ran captains’ practices three to four times a week, most of the Hens were hitting at least five to six days a week on top of conditioning. I was proud of the young Hens’ appearance at Fall Regionals, and I have been even happier to see them continue to work and try to get better as we begin to approach the spring season. The last day of fall practice was the end of a semester, but what is about to begin is going to be something incredibly special.
A couple of weeks ago, Mae started Secret Santa by putting everyone’s names together for us to pick. Then, we were given more than a week to shop or craft a gift for whoever we picked. Beginning immediately after the last practice match of practice, we sat in a circle and brought out our gifts that we had carefully chosen for the exchange. We went around clockwise in a circle, giving each other gifts, smiling and laughing the entire time. It was really fun to see what everyone had picked for their person, and it was really special to see how gifts were chosen based on people’s personalities and interests. It really goes to show how well we know each other, with many gifts based on inside jokes and such. For example, Mae was my Secret Santa, and she got me a
Pokemon shirt with Snorlax on it that said “Keep Calm and ZZZZ”. For those of you who don’t understand Pokemon references….don’t worry about it. It’s just a funny acknowledgement of how much I love sleeping and how everything knows it.
I’ve had an absolute blast this fall, but I’m definitely looking forward to the holiday season! Christmas and New Years are by far two of my most favorite holidays. Happy Holidays to everyone reading, and I hope you have a wonderful new year! Here’s to wishing that we’ll see you back here as we go through winter break and begin spring season.
December 9, 2014
Having Fun: A Staple of Sagehen Tennis
The last blog post was mainly concerned with community service, and since I mentioned that two of our biggest goals are to give back and have fun, this post will be primarily concerned about the latter. Both Pomona and Pitzer College are academically rigorous institutions, but that does not mean that we don’t have time to let go and enjoy our free time with our friends. The team spends a lot of its time together, ranging from casual hangouts, on-campus parties, and off-campus excursions.
If I tried to list all the times members of our team hung out with each other, this blog post would be longer than all my previous posts combined. If I had to start anywhere, I would consider team dinners as a home base. After every practice, the team always gets dinner at a dining hall together. Some traditions throughout the years have been burrito night at Pomona’s dining hall, sushi night at CMC’s dining hall, and make-your-own pizza night at Harvey Mudd. Throughout the years, we’ve always been quite the “foodie” group, with some teammates’ reputations based on how much they can eat (not going to name names…but Sammy, Shivani, and Emily Chen). Sometimes during practice we motivate ourselves to work harder by thinking of the upcoming dinner as our reward. Of course, we like our off-campus choices too. We have had team dinners at our local Korean Tofu restaurant (if you don’t know what that is…all I can say is that it is delicious), La Parolaccia (Italian restaurant), and Eureka Burger. Some other favorite places I’ve been with members of the team are Dr. Grubbs, Bua Thai, Chipotle, and various places in Rowland and Hacienda Heights, an Asian food hub about twenty minutes from campus. Can’t forget dessert: Half and Half for boba, Yogurtland and 21 Choices for frozen yogurt, and Handels and Bert and Rocky’s for ice cream. The captains also get pastries and other sweets at Some Crust for teammates’ birthdays throughout the school year.
Speaking of off-campus activities, I promise we do more than just eat food (although that’s definitely a huge part). One time we spontaneously drove to Downtown Disney to watch the daily nighttime fireworks. While wandering around the booths of DTD, we happened upon a temporary tattoo stand and some of us got silly spray tattoos. Growing up in Southern California and living my whole life pretty close to Disneyland, I have watched the fireworks show countless times, but honestly it makes it that much more special watching it with an equally special group of people. We also have lots of on campus hangouts. This semester we had two tennis socials: the annual mixed doubles social and Halloween hit. The mixed doubles social is usually held around the second month of the semester and is a great way for the men’s and women’s teams to get to play tennis together in a friendly setting. The Halloween hit, which used to be called “Halloween practice” has now been changed into more of a social event than from previous years by being more inclusive of non-team friends. It was a great way to have a little tennis fun before everyone went on their own ways for the rest of the evening’s Halloween festivities on campus. We also frequently just have casual hangouts, whether it is at somebody’s room or suite on campus. For example, my suite has a balcony on the third floor of my building, and it has become quite a popular spot for teammates to hang out and talk as there is an outdoor sofa and bean bag. We also often do homework together in one of the academic buildings. Basically…we just really enjoy spending time together.
Well that was pretty sappy. Stay tuned for a probably less sappy post the next time around! Although the semester is coming to a close, there will still be blogs coming in the next couple weeks, as well as through winter break as we catch up with the Hens who will be all around the world. Chirp!
December 4, 2014
Sagehens In The Fall!
Hi everyone! It’s definitely been a while since the last update, but no worries; there are definitely lots of things to catch you up on! After the Fall Regional tournament, the Sagehens technically enter “off-season”, but as my teammates can assure you, there’s not much time really being taken off during the semester. In addition to captain’s practices held four times a week, we also do a lot of off-court activities that help keep the team bond as strong as ever. Two things that we emphasize the most year-round as a team are having fun and providing service, so as you’ll see, these past few months have really reflected those ideals.
The week following the fall tournament, the Sagehens packed onto two cars and headed to a smallcommunity church in the city of Pomona, about ten minutes west of campus. Every Friday, volunteer groups come to the church to provide dinner for the local homeless, and I happened to be volunteering there for a community project that Friday. As always, my supportive teammates were there every step of the way as we unloaded the food, prepared and plated it, and served it all to the less fortunate who had gathered outside the church kitchen. It was a great experience and we all know that it was for a good cause. Coach Ann always makes it an important point for us to give back to the community around us, and her ideals have always been what our team revolves around.
Just a few weeks ago, we also participated in the Adopt-a-Family Thanksgiving program, which involves bringing together a bunch of food items that would be donated to a family in need in order for them to have enough food for the week of Thanksgiving. This was our second year participating in Adopt-a-Family, and just like last year, Mallory Roth (’17) was the leader of the team. Mallory’s mom (who is absolutely lovely by the way; you will hear more about her later) helped us in a huge way by providing the list of items that we would need as well as transporting the items to the appropriate site. With a quick excursion the local Vons, we were able to get all the food items that we needed to check everything off the list. We kept the turkey in the fridge overnight, and the following morning we were able to meet Mallory’s parents halfway to pass off all the food. I’m sure that this little act of service that we did ended up making some family in need’s Thanksgiving much more special, and that is something that we all care about.
Since I have now mentioned Mallory’s mom, the team really owes a lot to her and the Roth family for their generosity and love approaching the holiday season. Before Thanksgiving, we were all invited over to Mallory’s house for a homemade dinner and general reprieve from schoolwork. Upon arriving at the home, we were warmly welcomed and were all told to make ourselves at home as Marla (Mallory’s mom) finished up preparing dinner. Although we all knew that dinner was going to be fabulous, what came before was the real surprise. Evan Roth, Mallory’s brother, got on the piano and played us a few self-composed songs. Evan is an absolutely incredible and talented composer, producer, and artist, and you should all definitely check him out at www.evanrothmusic.com . According this his website, he will have new material coming out in Spring 2015. I’m absolutely certain that you will enjoy his songs as much as we did! Afterwards, Mallory and Evan teamed up to perform some songs from the musical “Wicked”, and it was definitely a treat for our ears. We were really blessed by the presence of such a musically talented family. Afterwards, we played a few rounds of Scategories before dinner. Dinner was absolutely amazing. Marla is a wonderful cook and we all left with very full and very, very happy.
On that very satisfying note, I’ll leave you all for now. I will be back with more updates as there is much more to catch you up on! As always, go Hens!
October 3, 2014
Fresh Faces for the Fall!
As many of you are aware (well, however “many” there are of you reading this post), the ITA Fall Regionals were held last week at the Pomona-Pitzer, CMS, and Claremont Club courts, with the host being yours truly (Go Hens!). Last year, the Hens had a strong showing, with four players reaching the second day of competition (Arthi, Lea Lynn, Mae, and Sammy), with Mae moving onto the quarterfinals with a third set tiebreak win and Sammy finishing her run at the semifinals before falling to the eventual champion. Doubles was also solid, as three Sagehen teams were represented in the quarterfinals (Rosemary and Marie, Lea Lynn and Sammy, Mae and Arthi), with the latter two moving onto the semifinals and Lea Lynn and Sammy battling to win the title in the finals.
This fall painted a different picture, one of young talent and plenty of excitement. Nine players represented the Hens at the tournament for singles, with six of them being freshmen and three of them sophomores. Of these nine, five advanced to the Round of 16, with all of them being freshmen. It’s no secret that we were able to secure a talented recruiting class, but as our coach always says, talent is useless unless you work hard and get results. Our freshmen battled hard against the top players in the conference, with five of the six falling to either the eventual champion or finalist in hard-earned wins for the opponents. The doubles teams also had a strong showing, with three teams reaching the quarterfinals (four of the individuals freshmen), and one team reaching the finals before falling to the top seeded team in the conference. These results definitely speak to the depth of the team going into the fall season, as well as gaining all the benefits from having a young team, such as retention of great players for the next four years, which will only get better and better as they develop even further as college athletes. Mae was unable to participate in singles for the fall tournament, but it only adds to the excitement of the spring as she will round the Hens out as a potential top player and leader.
All in all, definitely a solid showing for the Hens this fall. We look forward to using the next few months to improve on all aspects to become a dominant team when the spring season comes around. Chirp!
September 24, 2014
Hens Represent at the Claremont Showdown
As many prospective college tennis players may know, colleges often hold mini-tournaments called “showcases” or “showdowns” that give potential recruits an opportunity to play against other recruits and college players at a high level under the watch of local college coaches. September 20th was the first of probably multiple fall showcases in the area, hosted by the Biszantz Family Tennis Center down the street from our campus. The format was four singles sets to be played against four different opponents in a compass-style draw with different flights.
The Hens were encouraged to participate in the event for valuable match experience prior to the ITA Fall Regionals the following weekend, as well as take advantage of opportunities to play different players aside from our own teammates. Almost the entire team was able to participate, giving the Hens a solid presence at the event. Not only did we participate, I’d like to think that we really “showcased” ourselves. After a couple weeks of training, this was really our first time competing against people aside from ourselves, and every person put in tremendous effort to represent the team to the best of their abilities. Personally I was unable to play my matches because of a minor injury, but I was able to watch almost all the matches that were going on. Being the oldest member of the team this fall, I have to say that I felt proud of the heart the underclassmen showed out there and the display of maturity throughout every match. I know this will be a consistent theme in everything that we do because that’s part of the philosophy of this team and always will be. In the meantime, we are preparing for the big one: Fall Regionals. Keep your eyes out for a blog on that next week!
September 16, 2014
Back to the Grind!
After an enjoyable summer full of sun, tennis tournaments, and spending time with friends and family, the Hens were gathered once again for a new school year! Our freshmen hail from both near and far, with Mary and Emily Kuo being from San Diego, Shivani from Northern California, Emily Chen from Texas, Katie from Colorado, and Grace from Panama (You’ll be learning more about them in our upcoming freshmen interviews!).
Since the first day of official practice wasn’t until two weeks into the school year, the team met up for informal hits during the first week of school in order to shake off some rust and get to know each other (mainly the freshmen). I personally think something just clicked in that first week; I had a great feeling about the new team from day one. The freshmen make up almost half of our team at the moment, and the underclassmen in total heavily outnumber the upperclassmen, so it is a rather young team. However, I did not feel that imbalance at all since each person brought a wonderful mix of both maturity and fun to the team.
After a week of casual hitting, it was back to the grind with Coach Ann and the rest of the coaching staff. In addition to our high-energy practices, we finished off each day with applied conditioning led by coach Sammy. The goal is to get better, faster, stronger (cue Kanye music). We’re back even better than before; we have our sights set high this year and will do whatever it takes to get there. Check back in soon for more updates on fall season!
April 12, 2014
Claremont Colleges Relay For Life
On the weekend of the 5th and 6th of April, the Claremont Colleges came together to participate in the annual Relay For Life hosted by the Claremont Colleges Against Cancer club in partnership with the American Cancer Society. The Pomona-Pitzer Student Athlete Action Committee got together to form a team “Pomona-Pitzer Sports Teams” to participate in the event. As I have served on the American Cancer Society chapter in my high school and have participated in Relay For Life before, I was ecstatic to be participating again, and this time being a team captain.
Relay For Life is a 24-hour event full of bonding, entertainment, and is basically a day to come together to both honor those who have passed, survived, or are currently battling cancer. Some of the most important work actually comes before the event; everyone on each team is trying to fundraise money to reach his or her own personal goal, which counts towards the team goal. Our team goal was $2000 and I am proud to say that once all the mailed-in checks are finalized, we not only reached our goal but went a good couple hundred bucks over it. I was very proud of my team’s efforts to raise money for such an important event.
Because our tennis team had a match on the 5th and were unable to work that day, we split up the 24 hours into manageable shifts for the people who have signed up. The tennis team thus took the 5AM to 11AM shift on Sunday, with soccer captain Arianna Sanchez, me, and some kind-hearted tennis players taking the midnight shift from 11PM to 5AM. Although I basically went the entire time without sleeping, walking with my friends was really worth it for the story-telling and company in general, although I also enjoyed the times I got to walk by myself and really take in the meaning behind the event and reflect on my own personal experiences with family members and close family friends battling cancer. After some calculation, I realized that during the time I was there, I walked approximately 25 miles. My hips were sore for a good two days to prove it. However, I loved every second of it and would not have changed my actions at all.
When the rest of the tennis team joined us at 5AM, everyone was in decently good spirits considering how early it was. We all walked the track at the same time, breaking into smaller groups for convenience. Everyone was great company for each other during the early hours, and we most of us all stayed together through the entirety of the event. Although planning the event and getting the sports teams was a pretty difficult task, it all paid off and I’m glad that we were able to participate in an event that matters deeply to many of us
April 10, 2014
Looking ready in our white shirts, we waited for the hosts to announce when we could begin. All at once, everyone rushed wildly to the buckets and packets of colored powder and began to throw the powder relentlessly at one another. Although I had to meet with a professor pretty soon after the event and would need to appear presentable, I got caught up in the moment and got just as colorful as everyone else. Of course, there was plenty of screaming and laughter as everyone got to colorfully attack both friends and strangers (and make quick getaways before getting powdered back). As you can see from the picture, there was a pretty drastic before and after change, and it was all in good fun. Right after the event, I had to run quickly to my professor’s meeting, but the rest of the team made it out to the men’s tennis match as they were playing University of Redlands that afternoon. We were definitely not the most typical cheerleaders as we were rather unusual-looking and left powder trails everywhere we went. We are definitely looking forward to the next fun 5C (five college) event!
April 1, 2014
BBQ at Drew’s!
Back during spring break, we took the late afternoon after practice to head over to Drew’s place for a team BBQ and game night. Coaches Drew and Emily had spent a lot of their day buying and preparing the food so we could satisfy our voracious appetites very soon after our arrival. Food served included all kinds of BBQ meat, incredible asparagus, bowls of salad, seemingly unlimited chips and salsa, and a delicious assortment of juices. Sitting in Drew’s pretty backyard, we enjoyed the awesome food and each other’s company. After we were all full, we headed indoors and played the hilarious game Cards Against Humanity until everyone had to leave. It was certainly a great night full of food, games, and laughter!
March 29, 2014
As you may know, our team does not do a whole bunch of traveling. Why, you ask? With our beautiful Southern California weather and pristine facilities, we hardly ever have to go far to play teams because everyone comes to us. Especially during the month of March, many teams from out-of-state head to Southern California during their spring breaks, so we are able to schedule most of our matches right at home. With the exception of flying out to Indiana this year, normally our “road trips” usually only take an hour or less. So far in the season, we have had two: Redlands and Occidental, both SCIAC conference matches.
The trip to Redlands was an easy drive on the 10 East freeway. Although this was our second time this season playing Redlands, this match was extra special because there were many star appearances by all kinds of Hens. We were lucky enough to be supported by Arthi Padmanabhan’s parents, Alex Antonoplis’s mom, Marie Fleming’s dad, Rosemary Pelch’s dad, and Mallory’s parents. However, most notable, as always, are the alumni Hens that came out to support, and we were so happy to have Kara Wang (’13) and Jamie Solomon (’13) back and cheering us on! Every bit of support helped as we pulled out a tight match that day. After the match and our usual post-game meeting, we headed to Panera for dinner before heading back to campus.
More recently, we had our second road trip to Scholl Canyon, which was the host site for Occidental College’s tennis team. The site was on top of a hill as part of a golf and tennis complex, so it was definitely a different setting than we were used to. With the energy from our packout lunches by the dining hall, we pulled off a dominant win over a conference team. After the match, we headed back to campus in order to prepare for our second match of the day against Williams.
Future road trips to come include away games at Cal Lutheran, Whittier, and the Ojai tournament during the regular season!
March 7, 2014
Hens Take Indiana!
This season, the Hens had the opportunity to travel to Indiana to partake in the ITA National Indoor Championships. The eight teams that competed for the title this year were Pomona-Pitzer, Washington University- St. Louis, Redlands, Johns Hopkins, Chicago, Santa Cruz, Carnegie Mellon, and host Depauw.
Early (very early) in the AM, the Hens packed onto two vans to head to Ontario Airport to begin our journey. With a layover in Colorado, we made good time arriving in Indianapolis and getting our rental cars. After leaving the airport, we made our first food stop at Steak ‘n Shake, a chain I personally have never been to being in Southern California my whole life. After eating our hearty meals and enjoying our humongous milkshakes (we made it just in time for happy hour!), we got to our hotel to begin settling in. Doubles partners were roommates in our individual spacey suites, with a living room and kitchen, which we would be needing later.
After settling in, we got ready to get comfortable in the indoor tennis courts for a nighttime practice. Focusing on consistency and depth, we all had a great practice and I personally felt immediately at home on the courts. Day 2 consisted of tennis and food as usual, but we mostly wanted to get some
homework done, being away from school for a few days. However, we found time to travel to Indianapolis to quickly tour the NCAA museum, which had some cool stuff pertaining to sports in all divisions. Personally, my favorite night of the trip was when we all got together to make dinner. It consisted of a ton of spaghetti with meat sauce, bread and butter, and a nice salad to top it all off. While eating, people had a great time watching hilarious YouTube videos, and the night ended with a fun round of Banagrams.
Day 3: Game day. We joke about traveling all the way to Indiana to play a SCIAC foe, Redlands, but good tennis is good tennis, and we pulled out a 5-4 win that really did come down to the last match. Day 4 and 5 consisted of tough tennis against Top 10 teams that did not end in our favor, but it was great experience and a good stepping stone for the season to come. Day 5 was special because it began to snow early in the morning. The only minor mishap of the day was a flat tire on one of the vans, which a kind stranger pointed out to us before anything horrible could have happened. After our match, we were able to play in the snow for a bit, and it was really the best of both worlds because we were able to enjoy the snow (with whatever little time we had) and yet avoid getting snowed in, which I was pretty worried about. However, all ended well as we safely made it to the airport, to our layover in Colorado again, and finally near midnight back at the Claremont Colleges. This was definitely a great experience for us, and what did not kill us will only make us stronger! Here’s a chirp to a great rest of the season!
Feb. 28, 2014
Drew’s Birthday Celebrations!
On the same day that we had our season opener against Chapman, it was also our coach Drew Cohn’s birthday! With so much happening all at the same time, it sure made for an exciting day. Prior to the beginning of the match, we sang the birthday song and handed Drew our team present: a pair of customized Nike FreeRuns, decked out in flashy orange and blue in true Sagehen fashion, the tongues of the right and left shoes displayed “DREW” “COHN” respectively. Our team had come up with the idea about a month ahead of time, with efforts led by Mallory Roth and Sammy Chao. The whole team pitched in to cover the costs, and we could not have been happier with the final product. Of course, even more rewarding was seeing our coach’s face light up as he unwrapped the present and opened the shoebox.
After leaving the courts with a win, the team headed next to Buca di Beppo, a family-style Italian restaurant pretty close to campus. With the whole team, coaches, a prospie, and Jamie Solomon packing into the restaurant and seated at an L-shaped table, there was only one thing on our minds: FOOD. Buca is best-known for their enormous portions, which are meant to be passed around the table and shared by everyone (this family-style serving is very fitting considering how much of a family we consider ourselves to be). Of course, we mentioned that it was Drew’s birthday and the servers came around to sing their traditional birthday song, which was exciting. With full bellies, we headed back to campus to go our separate ways for the remainder of the night. It was truly a day defined by hard work, fun, and excitement, which was a perfect way to celebrate the very ideals that Drew believes in.
Feb. 25, 2014
Season Opener: CHECK!
The moment we had all been waiting for has come and gone. On Friday, 2/21, the Hens began the 2014 spring season by playing Chapman University. Coming out pumped with the all-new warm-up mix, we did all our usual warm-up and pregame routines. Of course, I have to highlight senior Claire Willey’s tradition of “parkour”-ing off benches, fences, and light posts. This tradition will obviously be missed by all due to Claire’s contagious energy, but no worries, because freshman Maddie Gordon will be expected to carry out all parkour duties from here on out. Hopefully Claire has trained her well!
After introductions, doubles play began. I did not have the great start I was hoping to have, but eventually picked it up and turned a 3-6 deficit to an 8-6 win. The #2 and #3 doubles took care of business as well. Riding off the momentum of a 3-0 lead after doubles, the Hens finished the match with an 8-1 win over Chapman, the same score we had with them last year.
However, most importantly, we are incredibly grateful for all the supporters who came out on match day. The men’s team was there from the very beginning cheering us on, which really helped a lot throughout all the matches. Parents also came, and I was very lucky to have my mother come for my first match of the season. She also brought my favorite Subway combos, so that was definitely a big plus. Students from the Claremont Colleges also stopped by the match to cheer us on. But the celebrity of the day had to be Jamie Solomon, our former #1 player who just graduated last year. Affectionately nicknamed “Solomonster”, Jamie was an inspiration to those who were lucky enough to have spent time on court with her. To have her there at our first match was definitely an awesome homecoming!
Next up, the eight Hens will be traveling to Indiana for National Indoor Championships. Stay tuned!
Feb. 23, 2014
Fun Night: Sochi Mochi!
Thanks to an adorable senior collaborative effort headed by Alex Antonoplis and with help from Arthi Padmanabhan and Sammy Chao, the Hens gathered into the team meeting room for a fun night filled with food and sports. Of course, at this special time of the year, there is one sporting event that we’ve all got our eyes on: The Olympics. With the Games held in Sochi this year, the seniors put together a clever “Sochi Mochi” night, which included a fun Olympics viewing with all kinds of delicious snacks.
Prior to Sochi Mochi, the men’s tennis team had their season opener against Bates, which resulted in a W for the Hens, locked in by an incredible effort by the singles lineup which resulted in blanking the Bates team. Our whole women’s team showed up to support our fellow Hens, and took part in celebrating their well-deserved win. Soon after the match was over, we filed into the team room to begin Sochi Mochi. The day’s special screening was the Women’s Figure Skating event, in which we watched the final two groups perform their routines. We were able to witness the beautiful routines of not only the podium winners but also those of the American sweethearts Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner as they took the ice. The exciting and mesmerizing routines were well-accompanied by the delicious ice cream mochi as well as other small snacks and drinks, such as cheese puffs, chocolate covered almonds, pear cider, and hot chocolate. All in all, it was a wonderfully planned night of viewings, whether it was supporting Hen’s tennis or watching in awe of the Olympic figure skaters
Feb. 3, 2014
National Girls and Women in Sports Day!
Just like we did last year, the tennis team volunteered to help out with lunch on Pomona’s campus during National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This special day is dedicated to celebrate the achievements of women in all levels of athletics, whether it is at the collegiate level, professional, and so on, as well as advocating for even more female representation nationally for all kinds of sports. This day was promoted by the Women’s Sports Foundation, a globally recognized foundation started by Billie Jean King, who all of you know as the professional tennis player and social activist. The Women’s Sports Foundation is dedicated to “[advancing] the lives of women and girls through sports and physical activity”.
Every year, approximately 90-100 female middle school students from the Claremont/Pomona/Upland area, primarily those growing up in underprivileged communities, step onto Pomona-Pitzer’s campuses to participate in a day dedicated to sports and fun. Activities that have been done in the past involve active participation in a tennis clinic or other sports hosted by the respective college team, or watching an official season game such as a tennis match, softball game, swim meet, etc.
This year, our team was honored to be setting up and serving lunch again, consisting of lots of fruit, vegetables, and Subway sandwiches. It was great to watch the middle schoolers come in from half a day of activity and eager to replenish their energy. To add to the excitement, we were honored to have a special speaker, Senator Norma Torres of the 32nd District (Fontana, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona, and Rialto) who gave a talk to the children about looking ahead in their lives and overcoming barriers to reach their goals. Even though the talk was for the children, I myself felt touched by what she had to say, and it added to an already very special day of fun, food, and service. Representing the team, I have to say that we were honored to have been a part of such a great day and hopefully making an impact on the children in our area that may aspire to someday be college athletes just like us.
Dec. 16, 2013
Happy Holidays from Sagehen Tennis!
Just before heading into finals week, the Hens got together for one last celebration before parting ways for winter break. Those who were free last Friday night got together for a fun-filled study break in Arthi’s humble abode, filled with food, smiles, games, and even a fireplace simulator. Upon entering the room, we were greeted with the pleasant smell of “ninjabread” cookies (see picture), with each one modeled after a specific member of the team. In order to e at a cookie, we had to find the one that was us, which ended up being so much fun as we were all able to point to the different cookies and chuckle at what made each of us unique.
After settling down and eating our cookies with some wonderful apple cider from Trader Joe’s, we played a fun card game that lasted through the remainder of our stay. Laughing at the game and at each other, we all had such a great time, and we owe it all to the great seniors, especially hostess Arthi for setting up such a great night for the team. Also important to note, this was the first team function aside from team dinners that Kira, ’15, joined us for! Kira had been studying abroad in Ecuador and stopped by Claremont for a bit before heading back home for winter break.
Happy Holidays to all, and I hope to see you all back with us once the new semester starts up again, as the Sagehens get back to official practices in preparation for the upcoming season. Go Hens!
Dec. 5, 2013
Hens for the Philippines
Right before the Hens left the nest for Thanksgiving break, aside from Adopt-A-Family shopping, the Hens united to do our part for an event put on by the school following the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda. The group One World, One Heartbeat, along with the help of students from the Claremont Colleges, set up a dinner and raffle fundraiser event in order to raise money for disaster relief.
Mae Coyiuto, ’16, was particularly passionate about the relief efforts, being an international student from the Philippines. Mae was very active in getting both tennis teams at the Claremont Colleges to help out for the event; yes, both the PP and CMS team. Dividing up tasks that needed to be done, the Hens decided to made homemade traditional Filipino desserts to sell at the event, while the CMS team put together a gift basket to be presented at the raffle auction.
Banding together since the wee hours of the morning, Mae, Arthi Padmanabhan, ’14, and some other members of the tennis team began to piece together the ingredients, following online directions carefully and testing over and over again to make sure the desserts were successful. By the time we needed to bring over the desserts to the dinner, we had created two delicious treats: Polvoron, a very soft crumbly shortbread cookie, and Brazo de Mercedes, which are meringue rolls with custard jelly filling. The desserts were enjoyed by many members of the Claremont Colleges and were a quick sellout along with all the other delicious food at the wonderful fundraiser dinner.
Meeting up with some of the men’s tennis team at the dinner, the women’s and men’s team enjoyed a nice dinner with wonderful performances from groups all around the Claremont Colleges. It was a night of entertainment, great food, great people, and all for a worthy cause.
Dec., 1 2013
‘Tis the Season for Giving Back: Adopt-a-Family
While most people think of the past Thursday as a day for giving thanks, the Sagehens found it an opportunity to give back. Looking at our different options for giving back to the community, we finally decided that we would be “adopting a family” for Thanksgiving. This entails going to a grocery market and buying various food items that would provide a Thanksgiving meal for a family in need. Not only would we be helping out a family who probably could not afford to have a nice meal for such an important holiday, but it would also be extra time to spend with each other before we had to separate for break.
After a morning hit and a very satisfying brunch at Pitzer, the Hens packed into two cars and headed north to the nearest grocery store. List in hand, we quickly began divvying up the items to get to be as efficient as possible. Personally, I was in charge of “fresh fruit”, which honestly was a little harder than it sounded because I’m admittedly not the best judge of good fruit, plus it had to be a mix of fruits that would not go bad before actual Thanksgiving day. With a lot of help from a couple Hens sensing my struggle, we were able to finish our task and regroup at the shopping cart, where lots of food was already piled up and almost ready for checkout. After grabbing the last few items, we headed over to checkout to seal the deal. Packing all the food onto a teammate’s van, we headed back to campus to store the food for the night, where the next day it would be handed over to teammate Mallory’s mom, who has graciously donated her time to help us with Adopt-a-Family this Thanksgiving.
Although our primary goal was to help a family in need, shopping for groceries with the team was also a great bonding experience for us, backed up by proof from many embarrassing but hilarious pictures which I won’t be showing you at this time. Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks (not to be cliché), so I would like to take this time to thank Mallory Roth and her mother for setting this up, the seniors for seeing it go through, and for all of you supporting the Hens and this blog!
Nov. 1, 2013
Short but sweet blog tonight: Happy Halloween! Every Halloween, it’s a tradition on the Pomona-Pitzer team to dress up in our costumes and go to practice. However, since our movement is probably a bit inhibited by our sometimes outrageous get-ups, we spend the practice time playing fun, competitive games. Overall, it is a wonderful bonding time for the team, filled with laughter and joy for the whole length of practice. I mustn’t forget to mention the wonderful decorations the seniors put up around the tennis courts; it really livened up the party and produced a wonderful atmosphere!
From the Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Tennis Team, we wish you had a Happy Halloween!
Oct. 13, 2013
Nationals in Ft. Myers, Florida
When I heard that I was heading to Florida for the Small College Nationals, the first thing that came to mind was obvious: Disney World. Unfortunately, after checking the game play schedule and flight times, we (assistant coach Drew, Sammy, and I) had to come to terms with the fact that we would not have time to head on over to Orlando any time during the trip with it being a three hour drive. However, this did not stop us from relishing the Florida experience. During our off-time in the approximately three day trip, we always found time to explore what Ft. Myers had to offer.
Because the first day was more hectic with flights and other orders of business, free time was more limited. We did a little bit of grocery shopping and walking around the nearest outlet before heading to the practice courts and hitting with our friend from the conference. After taking a shower, we headed to the main site for the most important part of the day: the banquet. The players and coaches banquet was hosted by the tournament, and all players and coaches from all four participating divisions (DII, DIII, NAIA, Junior College) were advised to attend. With numerous tables seating about ten peop le each, everyone came in and were able to sit wherever they liked. Because three different teams from our SCIAC conference were represented at the tournament (La Verne for women’s singles, CMS for men’s singles, Pomona-Pitzer for women’s doubles), we all decided to stick together for this fun, social night. Dinner was catered to the venue fresh from the nearby hotel. After a night of bonding with our conference, we all headed back to our hotels for the rest of the night.
Following the first day of matches, two enjoyable events were lined up for the night: a nice dinner and mini-golfing! The three conference teams met up again for dinner at El Gaucho Inca, a Peruvian/Argentinian restaurant that received very high ratings online. The menu was extensive and covered a wide array of foods, reflected in our personal dishes. Being as hungry as we were, the most common order was some form of steak, with a couple people ordering ribeye or Picanha. My order of ribeye came with a delicious chimichurri sauce and wonderfully textured mashed potatoes. After eating every speck off of my plate, I felt extremely satisfied with my choice, and it was no wonder that this restaurant was so highly reviewed. We left happy and ready to take on the next part of our night.
Castle Golf was the mini-golfing course closest to our hotel, but considering how fun it was, we probably would not have minded a longer travel time for what we got. The decorations at the course were absolutely adorable and awesome, whether it was the numerous mini-castles spread out across the park, the statues of knights in armor, or the many other parts that made it other-worldly. The most special part the course was a certain area where we had to cross a bridge to get to the next hole, and there is a bell to ring which attracts the catfish in the body of water below us. Because we were supplied with fish food when we entered, we were able to not only see the catfish but also feed them. Even though I finished in dead last behind Drew and Sammy, I am quite certain that because of the nature of mini-golfing, we all had so much fun!
The second day of matches left us little time to ourselves, so it mostly was just made up of dinner and a bit of leisure time. Instead of our original plan of heading to a nearby Olive Garden, we decided that it would be fun to try out gator meat while we were in Florida. A diner named Gatorbites was located about 25 minutes from our hotel and also received pretty good ratings online. One of my close friends from high school also happened to be in Florida for the same tournament, so I dined with her team to catch up with her. It was a meal full of Gator Burgers, Gator Bites, and laughter with friends both old and new. Gator meat is certainly something special; the texture is obviously quite different from other types of meat but was very enjoyable. After dinner, I continued to lounge around with my high school friend, talking about all sorts of things and just generally enjoying each other’s company. It served as an excellent close to my Ft. Myers experience, as we were going to be on a flight first thing in the morning the next day. All in all, although Ft. Myers is a bit removed from the central areas of tourism such as Miami and Orlando, we made the best of the experience and had a lot of fun in our free time. However, we are also excited to get back to Claremont and our college friends, and for me, I am personally excited to get to spend the rest of my weekend with my parents at home before returning to my favorite people on campus, the tennis team!
Oct. 8, 2013
Fall Regionals Part II: Team Spirit, Go Sagehens!
When a tennis player is out on the court, it’s been said that she can rely on no one but herself. While this is true for many players, it just simply does not hold true for a Sagehen. Not only do our players have limitless internal fight in them, they are backed by a group of girls that stand by their teammates to the end. The Sagehens are not just teammates; we are a family and best friends.
This year’s Fall Regionals debuted six new Sagehens amongst the returners on the team. Even though we have only known each other for a month since school started, the team makes sure to treat everyone equally with love and respect; it does not matter whether we’ve been on the team for four years or one month. The tradition of creating a familial atmosphere is one of the things that we stress most on this team, and it is definitely one of the best parts about the program. However, more than anything, the best part about Fall Regionals every year is the team bonding, displayed wonderfully by the amount of team spirit over the weekend.
There is a reason that at the end-of-season banquet, we do not give out “MVP”, “Most Improved”, “Senior of the Year”, or other such awards. Instead, the two biggest honors a player can receive are the “Sagehen Spirit” and “Dinosaur” awards. The former goes to two players on the team who have shown outstanding spirit and support for the program, and the latter is an award given to the two fiercest competitors, or as our coach says, “strikes fear in the enemy….is always hungry for the win” (both awards are voted on by the team). This shows that above personal records and team results, we put a heavy emphasis on passion, spirit, and support. This past weekend, we came out ready to give it our all. Even though we had to wake up early for breakfast and warm-up, I always found time to apply my “war paint”, two seemingly simple lines of blue and orange that went a long way. Arthi came out with her Cecil Sagehen temporary tattoo on her arm. Throughout the weekend, everyone had on our fresh, newly-made Sagehen Tennis tank tops in both white and “in-your-face” orange. Aside from gear, the most important thing was something we did not have to buy: our voices.
It is no secret that we are LOUD. Not obnoxiously loud, just loud to the point where we are giving our utmost support to our teammates. We also stick together. Whether or not we personally have a match that day, we are out at the courts, cheering the remaining Sagehens on, even at all the morning and night matches. During my doubles match in the finals of the tournament, I was two courts over, but I could still hear my teammates as clearly as if they were right next to me, and honestly, sometimes that can really make the difference (especially in our very close 7-6, 7-6 final match). After I lost my singles match, I gave myself maybe one or two minutes to reflect on the match, and immediately got back onto the bleachers to cheer for my teammates who were still on the court. Being on a tennis team is about being selfless. Sure, when I’m on the tennis court playing singles, I have to focus solely on my own game, but once I’m off the court, I’m no longer a singles player, I’m a teammate, a best friend, and for lack of a better term, a cheerleader. I never knew how much my voice and actions could affect others until a teammate came up to me last season after a hard-fought win, and hugged me, thanking me for supporting her throughout her entire match even though she was playing one of my closest friends.
All in all, the team spirit and bonding with teammates is really what makes college tennis, especially the Pomona-Pitzer program, really special. Every person on the team is as important as the next, and everyone deserves full-on support from their teammates. Even though I came out of the tournament with a good record and results, even if I hadn’t, I would not be any less happy because most importantly, every Sagehen came out of the tournament as a better teammate, and the love we have for each other is what reigns above all.
Oct. 1, 2013
Fall Regionals part I: Young Blood
This past weekend, there was some amazing tennis going on at both the Pomona-Pitzer and CMS courts. There’s absolutely no question that Division III tennis has become a force to be reckoned with, full of amazing players who achieve greatness academically as well as pour their hearts out on the courts, playing for the pure love of the sport. Comments were made here and there about how the draw this year was probably the “deepest” it has ever been, and for good reason: more and more great junior players are choosing DIII schools, and the standards are always being raised. This being my second year here at Pomona-Pitzer and participating in college tennis in general, I’ve already seen a difference from the past year to the current fall season, namely the fresh faces from all the schools that participated in the fall regionals.
The young blood is always exciting. In the semifinals of the women’s singles draw, three of the four were underclassmen (two sophomores, one freshman), and the finals was a matchup between a sophomore who was the SCIAC conference rookie of the year last year, and a freshman who might be en route to earning the title herself in the spring. The doubles semifinals was a more even mix, although it was slightly funny; each of the four doubles teams comprised of one sophomore and one senior. Although all the sophomores were also in it for the team and personal glory, it felt almost as if we were competing against each other to see which sophomore would be the one to help their partner achieve the All-American status in their last year and go to Nationals (Luckily, Sammy and I prevailed, and this wasn’t Sammy’s first time being an All-American because she is awesome).
Obviously, I’m not overlooking the upperclassmen, for they were also well-represented in the later rounds of the tournament. Through physical setbacks and all, Sammy Chao had a great tournament, and we are all very, very proud of her. Arthi Padmanabhan also had a great showing in her last fall regionals. All of the participating players should be proud of what they have achieved, but even more importantly, be able to come out of the tournament as a better player and teammate. Fall Regionals is only the beginning; it is a learning experience for everyone, and a wonderful way for us to kick it into gear as we prepare for the rest of the semester in anticipation of the spring season after winter break.
Stay tuned for part two of the Fall Regionals blog! The next one will be more focused on the Hens, I promise.
Sept. 18, 2013
Starting the Year Off Right: Team Traditions
Hello to everyone checking back, and welcome to those new to the Sagehen Women’s Tennis team blog! Thank you for joining us as we kick off a new school year full of exciting team news, insider info, and of course, freshmen! First looks at the incoming class for the fall semester will be updated soon, so always remember to check back frequently to get in-the-know with the new and returning Hens for the 2013-2014 school year.
In recent news, the Hens started the year off right with a very important celebration: Mae’s birthday! Mae Coyiuto, ’16, celebrated her second birthday in a row here in the States as an international student from the Phillipines. With such an important day for such an important person, it was only fair that we celebrated by pulling out not just one, but TWO team traditions! With empty bellies, the team packed onto three cars to head off to our first destination: Korean tofu in Rancho Cucamonga! For those unfamiliar with Korean tofu, the name refers to a specialty soup made famous by the Korean culture, in which wonderfully silky and soft pieces of tofu are mixed along with other delicious ingredients in a bubbling soup. Foodies can choose from a variety of tofu soups, such as beef, kimchi (Korean spiced cabbage), pork, vegetarian, dumpling, and much, much more. If ordering the tofu soup by itself, it is usually accompanied with a bowl of rice as well as raw eggs. Here’s the trick: When the soup is served, it is boiling hot. For a delicious kick to your soup, cracking an egg into it will actually cook the egg because of the soup’s temperature! But if tofu soup is not your thing (or you want more food), there are also a lot of other choices, such as Bulgogi (grilled marinated beef), spicy pork/chicken platters, bibimbap (Korean speciality bowl), as well as a variety of other simple and delicious Korean delicacies.
After satisfying our appetites with the large portions of Korean food, we headed back to Pomona and Pitzer to set-up for our second team tradition of the day: Karaoke night! Using YouTube hooked up to a projector, the Sagehens sang and danced the night away. In the middle of the celebration, a special surprise was in store for the birthday girl: some of the seniors had baked an amazing cake for the whole team to enjoy. After singing the birthday song and finishing dessert, the night continued on until it finally came to a gradual close.
This was definitely a great way to begin the tennis year, as it was a very special day for team bonding as well as a wonderful opportunity for the freshmen to have a sneak peek at some of the team traditions. If this beginning is any indication of the year to come, then I will just say that I can hardly wait!
May 6, 2013
Sagehens to Continue Post-season Run
Excellent news for the Sagehens today: We just got the bid for the NCAA tournament! After SCIACs, our bid for the NCAA tournament was still “at-large”, but today (5/6), with the unveiling of the official tournament draw, we found out that not only had we secured a spot at the prestigious tournament, but placed a second seed in our region! This gives the Hens a bye for the first round, then challenging either Redlands or Whitman for the following round. After a finalist finish at the SCIAC tournament, the Hens are pumped to continue challenging ourselves and our opponents for the remainder of the post-season. The regionals will most likely be hosted at the Claremont courts and the Pauley courts, so be sure to come out and support! For those interested, this is the link for the draws that came out earlier today. http://www.ncaa.com/sites/default/files/external/gametool/brackets/tennis-women_d3_2012.pdf
May 3, 2013
Meet the team, Part XIII (Jamie)
Jamie Solomon, aka. Solomonster, '13, Los Gatos, California
Q: Use three adjectives to describe the team!
A: Silly, kind, and loyal. The best combination in my opinion.
Q: Favorite song on the warm-up mix?
A: "Hello" by Martin Solveig and Dragonette. It's the first song on the mix, and I love how the minute I turn the music on, the team is amped up and ready to go. I also love "Stronger" by Kelly Clarkson, because it's the song I listened to over and over again while I was rehabbing my knee. As I did my exercises, I hoped that I could eventually listen to the song on the court. I love that I have been able to do that before many matches.
Q: Favorite nicknames on the team?
A: "Wea Wynn" is great one :) I also love "Coyote."
Q: What has been the hardest thing you've had to overcome on the team?
A: Being away from the team while I was injured in the fall was tough. Now I can really appreciate every minute I'm on the court with them.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most in the rest of season?
A: Enjoying the last couple weeks of season with my friends. And kicking some butt in the process.
Q: Favorite team tradition?
A: I like the little things, like getting dinner after practice and high five-ing everyone when your name is called out in the lineup before matches.
Q: Flatter your fellow seniors!
A: It's hard to put into words how much I care for Kara and Hsu. I just feel blessed that I know these girls will be life long friends of mine. Jess is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever met. She deeply cares about her friends, and frequently puts others before herself. Kara makes me smile everyday. One look of hers will make me giggle uncontrollably. She's so dang witty and she's as sweet as a cupcake. She's also the best friend a girl could ask for. I feel bad for people that don't know her.
April 30, 2013
Sagehens at Ojai
In the late afternoon of Wednesday, April 24, six Hens and the two coaches loaded two cars for departure. We were Ojai bound! More specifically Ventura, but that is beside the point. We were going to be participants in the 113th Ojai Valley Tennis Championships, an esteemed tournament known to produce top players. After arriving at the Pierpont, the hotel in which we stayed, we figured out some logistics for the night and following morning and almost immediately headed straight for our beds (tempurpedic mattresses, Queen sized. Who said we weren’t spoiled?) After an early morning warmup, we were ready to take on the first opponents of the day. All singles got through the first round, and both doubles teams got through their second rounds (both had byes first rounds). Success continued for many Hens, as most advanced through to the second day, and some to the third. The Sagehens fought hard, with the highlights being Mae Coyiuto reaching the singles semifinals and Sammy Chao and Kara Wang reaching the double semifinals. The last matches proved to be tough as both split sets before falling to the eventual finalists.
However, the trip to Ojai is not always just about tennis. This trip between regular season and SCIACs proved to be a wonderful bonding experience for the participating players, as well as the rest of team, who were in frequent contact with the participants, waiting for live updates from Kara and sending video clips of support and congratulations to the players. Personally, the trip was rewarding because not only did I spend time with my team, but I also got to spend time with players and friends from other teams, especially the familiar faces from our conference as well as some I knew from back home. Although Ojai was full of fierce competition, it was also somewhat of a break from the routine of regular season, which I enjoyed. With this episode over, the team will be gearing up for the upcoming SCIACs later this week. Support the Hens as we try to win conference this year!
April 28, 2013
Meet the team, Part XII (Jess)
Jessica Hsu, '13, Henderson, Nevada
Q: What are the three biggest strengths of the team?
A: The respect we have for our coaches and for each other allows us to openly discuss what we can do as a team to improve and learn from each other. In addition, the team loves to tease and support each other in such friendly (often hilarious) and sweet ways which I believe is a key part to bringing and keeping the team together. Lastly, everyone is so willing to work hard throughout the season and our fighting spirit during practice and matches is what continues to make us better as players and people.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most for the rest of season?
A: SCIACS! Regionals! Team hangouts!
Q: Favorite team tradition?
A: Going on-court for the last remaining player during matches and secret sagehen.
Q: If you were trying to convince someone to join the tennis team, what would you say?
A: I would tell them that some of the biggest parts of why I love the team is the high energy, commitment, and level of support, love, and respect that everyone has for each other
Q: Favorite things to do with the team off-court?
A: Eat, listen to childhood stories, eat, study, talk, and eat!
Q: Thoughts on the coaching duo
A: They are absolutely fantastic and have great insights into tennis and life. They are also highly supportive and committed to us and our welfare.
Q: Flatter your fellow seniors!
A: They are some of my best friends. Both of them are extremely dedicated and hard working. I love Jamie's intensity on court and silliness off of it and her consistency and backhands are to die for. Kara is also very silly but is so strong on court and I keep wishing I had her stomach crunching volleys! They are the definition of people you would want as teammates and friends.
April 24, 2013
Sagehens Close Out Regular Season Strong
After the much anticipated match against Redlands was finally over, the regular season officially came to a close. But what a finish! After a string of tough matches following spring break, we found ourselves in a bit of a “slump”, but worked our way out of it by emphasizing physical fitness and mental toughness. This led to a winning streak reminiscent of the season’s beginning, with more confidence being built with each win and culminating with a feel-good win over Redlands.
Coming into the match, Redlands was having a very good season, with their only loss coming to CMS, catapulting their ranking up to number 9 in the nation. Obviously, their confidence was riding high and they were out to play their hardest against us. However, the Sagehens were ready to fight back, and fight hard. In our post-match meeting, Coach Becca mentioned how our attitudes and confidence on the court against Redlands made us seem to be a completely different team than we were during the tough week after break. We came out pumped, reflected in our 2-1 finish in doubles, gaining the lead and momentum going into singles. Through the hard work that we put in, singles ended up in our favor, with the first four matches coming off the court all being wins, pushing us to a 6-1 lead, with the match already clinched after the third singles win. The last two matches were battles, leading to hard-earned wins for two Redlands players. After the clinch, I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of relief. I was personally nervous going into the match, but seeing how well our team performed made me extremely happy and proud. Post-match, almost everyone was all-smiles because we all knew this was a good win for us, and great momentum for the rest of the year.
Coming up next is the Ojai tournament, in which our top three singles players and top two doubles players are entered into a draw full of other DIII schools (exception: Sammy Chao has withdrawn from her place in singles and will be replaced by another Sagehen). The Ojai, as it is simply referred to, lasts from Thursday, April 25 through Sunday, April 28. This individual tournament will provide valuable experience for the participating players as well as serve a nice bridge between the end of regular season and the SCIAC tournament coming up the week after. Stay tuned for results and an insider look at the team at Ojai!
April 23, 2013
Meet the team, Part XI (Constance)
Constance Wu, '14, Palo Alto, California
Q: What is your favorite nickname on the team?
A: I can't decide, simply since there are so many wonderful ones! I do love when we yell "Chao time" for Sammy, and calling Jamie Solomonster :)
Q: What was your favorite match so far this season? Individually or as a team
A: My favorite match was the one against CMS; I think the fighting spirit of the team was really great that day. (It also helps that it was my 21st birthday, and that we went as a team to Korean Tofu afterwards/had ice cream cake)
Q: Favorite song on the warm-up mix?
A: I love "Fighter" by Christina Aguilera
Q: Any favorite traditions on the team?
A: I like how the whole team greatly enjoys food, and how we always go to dinner after practice together. I also like when we have study parties outside of practice where we take over a classroom and generally have a good time (while also being productive, of course...)
Q: Thoughts about Ann and Becca
A: Both Ann and Becca are amazing coaches; they really push us to be the best players that we can, and spend so much effort in getting to know us and understand what we are going through as players, students, people, etc.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most this season?
A: Spending more time with my fantastic teammates :D
Q: Flatter a fellow junior (Alex Antonoplis)
A: I met Alex on OA (orientation adventure), and she is literally one of the nicest people I've ever met. I played doubles with her last year, and am also her lab partner as a chemistry major. She ALWAYS has a smile, and always is positive about everything. She works hard, never complains, and is always willing to help cheer up other people (she has been a great friend to me for the past three years). In my opinion, every room Alex ever walks into will automatically be brighter because she's pretty much a human ray of sunshine.
April 22, 2013
Team Sunday Funday! Disneyland and Club 33
After weeks of planning and anticipation, we were finally at the magical kingdom of Disney! After driving for about 45 minutes to get to our destination from school, we were overfilled with excitement and ready to get our rides on. However, one more amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity awaited us before everything else: Club 33. For those of you who do not know what Club 33 is, it was Disney’s own private space in the theme park, reserved specially for his own personal guests and business partners. Now, it is still extremely private, only open to those with memberships to the club and their own guests. Through some amazing connections within our team, we were able to make reservations at this fine diner! While waiting to be escorted in, the team took a bunch of silly photos outside the door, genuinely excited for what was to come. Once inside, we marveled at the beauty of the interior design as well as the invaluable works of art hanging on almost every wall. The food itself was, as expected, amazing. In addition to our entrée of either Pan Seared Chateaubriand, Free Range Chicken, Steelhead Scottish King Salmon, or Fresh Pasta Three by Three, there was also a mouth-watering selection of delicacies at the lunch buffet bar, such as lobster, Ahi tuna delights, all sorts of cheeses and breads, and much more. The service was of course excellent, and we continued to bond over our love of food, especially excellent food. Before eating, we raised toasts to our wonderful coaching staff and team. Afterwards, food became the main priority!
Disneyland itself was all sorts of fun! Although it was a weekend, we didn’t find the lines to be excessively long, and were able to go on about ten fun rides during our stay. All the rides were so fun, and my personal favorites were Splash Mountain, Star Tours, Astro Blasters, Indiana Jones, and Jungle Cruise. Splash Mountain was the most memorable because we posed for the camera at the drop near the end, and the picture turned out absolutely hilarious. Even though I was born and raised in Southern California and have been to Disneyland multiple times, every single time is like a new experience, because Disneyland is just that amazing. This trip was an amazing team bonding moment for all of us, although we are already extremely close. For me, this trip will definitely go down in the books as one of my favorite moments during my college career!
Arthi Padmanabhan, '14, Saratoga, California
Q: What is your favorite nickname on the team?
A: Solomonster!! I just love watching Jamie, our 5 foot tall power house, wearing her “Solomonster” visor and ripping winners from 6 feet behind the baseline.
Q: What was your favorite match so far this season? Individually or as a team
A: Redlands - winning an important, close match is always exciting, but it was extra special because it was our seniors’ last home match. I’m so glad they got to end their regular season on such a positive note.
Q: Favorite song on the warm-up mix?
A: NSYNC – Tearing Up My Heart. I love the throwback!
Q: Any favorite traditions on the team?
A: Secret Sagehen! Each person is assigned one match to bring something small for the whole team. The gifts range from snack baggies to tie-dyed shirts to bracelets. After 3 years of this tradition, I think I have everything I could ever need, in blue and orange! I have Sagehen-themed shirts, bracelets, hairbands, socks, towels, picture frames, and even a beautiful pair of Sagehen earrings handmade (from clay) by our very own incredibly talented Constance!
Q: Thoughts about Ann and Becca
A: I honestly think this is the best coaching staff we could have asked for. Ann has been coaching for so long, and it shows. She is intense about training and her expectations are high, but she never loses her wise perspective. Becca played on this team not too long ago, so she knows what we most need to hear during changeovers. She is a source of support as well as a driving force for efficient practices and workouts.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most this season?
A: I’m looking forward to SCIAC’s! It’ll be a test, but an exciting one.
Q: Flatter a fellow junior (compliment Sammy in 3-4 sentences)
A: In the last three years, Sammy has become a part of my Pomona family and home family. It’s as much fun to watch her scream “C’mon!” at the top of her lungs as it is to watch my parents’ faces when I bring her home for Thanksgiving and she downs three plates of food in 10 minutes. It’s been an honor to play alongside her and I’m looking forward to our last year!
April 12, 2013
Sagehens Make First Road Trip This Season
One of the perks of being a tennis player at a Southern California school is that the weather is basically nice all year round. Thanks to this and having the beautiful Pauley Tennis Complex, most schools travel to us for matches, so we hardly ever have to leave home court. While this has been a privilege and comfort for us, we eventually had to leave our Sagehen nest. Our first “road trip” was to the Claremont Club for the match against La Verne, but since the Claremont Club is literally about five minutes away from campus, it does not really count. However, today (4/12), we finally got to make a trip further away, by traveling to Cal Tech for our third-to-last regular season match. For me personally, this was the very first road trip, so it was all sorts of exciting!
After having a good lunch, the fourteen Sagehens and two coaches packed into a van and a mini-van. With 104.3 on the radio and good company, we set out for our destination. There wasn’t much traffic on the freeway so we made pretty good time. Then it was time to focus out on the courts. After sealing a good win, we wanted to avoid traffic and decided to go to Lake Avenue for dinner. We had an awesome casual meal at Corner Bakery, while a few people headed to Beard Papa’s for dessert. After satisfying our tummies, we packed back into the vans and headed for school. We played some fun games on the ride back, such as “Contact”, where everyone gives one person an identity, and that person does not know what or who she is, and has to continuously ask yes/no questions until she figures it out. It was a great way to kill the thirty minutes for the ride back, and we were back before we knew it!
As a first road trip, it was pretty memorable, and a bunch of ridiculous photos to prove it (which I definitely won’t be showing you out of embarrassment). We have another road trip coming up tomorrow (4/13) for our match at Anaheim Hills Racquet Club, Chapman’s home court. Then, on Sunday, we have yet another road trip! But for a very different purpose, which I will keep you all posted on!
April 11, 2013
Meet the team, Part IX (Claire)
Claire Willey, '14, Camarillo, California
Q: What is your favorite nickname on the team?
A: C-murder for Constance because I gave it to her
Q: What was your favorite match so far this season?
A: Vassar? I dunno man, they blur together after so many years
Q: Favorite song on the warm-up mix?
A: Love on top - Beyonce
Q: Any favorite traditions on the team?
A: Secret Sagehen because I like snacks.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most this season?
A: More matches...seeing everyone compete at Ojai. To be honest I'd love to see some tough matches pulled out in our favor :)
Q: Flatter a fellow junior (Arthi Padmanabhan)
A: Arthi is so calm! She literally is everything I need to be on the court in terms of between the point body language. And she flattens out nearly every shot that I can hit.
April 10, 2013
Meet the team, Part VIII (Alex)
Alex Antonoplis, '14, La Canada, California
Q: What is your favorite nickname on the team?
A: I love the nickname "Coyote" for Mae. Coyotes are fierce and tenacious, and that perfectly describes Mae's style of play. Personality wise, however, she is sweet and witty; a far cry from the whiny, vicious desert dogs.
Q: What was your favorite match so far this season? Individually or as a team
A: I loved playing Washington University in St. Louis! It was great that they were able to make the journey to Southern California. Our team performed extremely well and I had a sweet come-from-behind victory in singles.
Q: Favorite song on the warm-up mix?
A: This is a very difficult question; our warm-up mix is loaded with groovy tunes! I guess I'd have to say "I want you back" by the Jackson 5 . . . but there's also an N' sync gem that warms (and definitely doesn't tear) up my heart every time I hear it ;)
Q: Any favorite traditions on the team?
A: I love team meals after practice! There's nothing more satisfying that sitting down to a delicious meal with incredible people after a busy day of classes/activities/tennis. Usually we eat in the dining halls, but sometimes we venture off campus to nearby restaurants. Thank you Jess for discovering Korean Tofu House! Their tofu changed my life and I will forever bibimbap til I drop!
Q: Thoughts about Ann and Becca
A: Ann and Becca are incredibly wise and talented coaches, inspiring us to be the best tennis players and people we can be. When I was a senior in high school, I met Ann for the first time and was immediately drawn to her warm, engaging personality. Ann takes the time to plan smart practices; not only do we get a great workout in but we also improve so much after each one. Becca's conditioning workouts are also very smart, geared towards developing quick reactions. Becca, like Ann, is also warm and engaging and she also just completed the LA Marathon! She inspires all of us to work our hardest and enjoy ourselves while we're at it.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most this season?
A: I'm looking forward to spending time, both on and off the court, with amazing people! I feel so lucky to be a part of this team.