By Emily Bary ’14
Sojung Lee ’15 knows how to win when it counts. The junior tennis captain has proven steady and reliable ever since she joined the team at the fifth singles position as a first year.
Now, Lee plays in the top spot on the squad, and she’s held her own against some of the toughest players in the country. Recently, she pulled out a key singles win in three sets to help Wellesley edge Vassar 3-2 and take home the Seven Sisters trophy for the first time since 2011.
Lee is arguably even more of a powerhouse on the doubles court, where she and her partner Carina Chen ’17 use a combination of blistering groundstrokes and aggressive net play to finish points quickly. After picking up big wins against teams from nationally-ranked schools such as Trinity and Brandeis, Lee and Chen were named the sixth-best team in the Northeast region. Lee hopes she and Chen will earn a spot in the national doubles tournament later this year.
Lee recently spoke with the Wellesley News about moving up the singles ladder and recovering from an injury. Excerpts of the conversation follow.
Emily Bary (E.B.): Why did you decide to play at Wellesley?
Sojung Lee (S.L.): At first I didn’t want to play college tennis, but I met [coach Brian Kuscher] beforehand, and he seemed like a really great coach. I didn’t really know what I would’ve wanted to do if I didn’t play tennis, so I joined the team.
E.B.: What’s been your best Wellesley athletic moment so far?
S.L.: In general, just travelling with the team. The spring break trip to California was really fun. I like hanging out with my teammates.
E.B.: What’s it like being on such a small team?
S.L.: It was difficult at first because we didn’t have any upperclasswomen on the team besides Kendall [Tada ’14] and myself, but once the first-years got the hang of how things should be operating, it got easier. They’re all really great.
E.B.: What are your personal goals for the season?
S.L.: I’d like it if maybe my doubles partner and I could get a bid to the national tournament at the end of the year.
E.B.: How is it adjusting to new doubles partners every year?
S.L.: It’s pretty straightforward. I guess it was a bit different this year because my doubles partner is a first-year, so I had to teach her what doubles in college is like. But I played doubles with her before, in Hong Kong, so the transition was pretty easy.
E.B.: What’s it like playing first singles, and how was it transitioning to first singles?
S.L.: It’s definitely a lot tougher mentally. Every player you play is really, really good. I just had to be more mentally focused, which was different from the past two years.
E.B.: How do you think the Nor’easter Bowl at the beginning of the month went?
S.L.: I think it went really well. One of our team goals was to win one round of the Nor’easter Bowl, which we did, and we did really well against Trinity and Brandeis. Both of them are nationally ranked teams, and the matches were really close.
E.B.: How do you avoid injuries?
S.L.: I did have a chronic bicep tendonitis injury, but I would go to the trainers and do rehab all the time to get better, so now I don’t have that anymore.
The Blue closed out their season on Sunday, April 13 with the Seven Sisters win. The team finished with a 14-8 record in dual matches and was recently ranked 28th in the country.
Lee ended her junior year with a 13-7 record in completed singles matches. She and Chen stand at 14-4 in doubles action and will now wait to hear whether they have been selected to compete in the national doubles tournament in May.