Wellesley tennis opened their season with a dominant win at the Seven Sisters Championships two weeks ago over Vassar, Mount Holyoke, Smith and Bryn Mawr — a win co-captain Sojin Ki ’19 hopes will set the tone for the season. “Knowing what it’s like to win and having that sense of team effort and energy is really important going forward,” Ki told The Wellesley News, “I think everyone having a taste of that Seven Sisters title has helped us see what it’s like to beat everyone else.” That drive to compete, coupled with the strong sense of camaraderie among the team, has given Ki and co-captain Justine Huang ’19 a foundation for the upcoming season.
This season’s roster is larger than typical tennis rosters with 13 players, but Ki says this has brought in a broader range in skill and tennis backgrounds which gives them a competitive edge over past teams. “I’m personally going into this season with a lot higher expectations than before,” Huang agreed, “Before we’ve been happy just being competitive but this semester we should be, or we can be, a lot more […] and have bigger expectations for ourselves.” The large roster has not only lended itself to a bigger skill set, but also to increasing the camaraderie among its players. “In tennis, because it’s an individual sport, it can be hard to feel like a team,” said Ki, “but I think this team and this year specifically it feels like a team because everyone is very invested in the team’s success.” Huang added that the dynamic change has already helped them during the Seven Sisters Championships. “You could feel it in the air people cheering each other on, really rooting for each other,” said Huang.
Ki and Huang attribute the group’s immense support for each other not from their leadership but from the players themselves. When asked about their influence on the team dynamic, Ki said, “what I’m realizing as leaders is that it’s really not about us steering — of course, you should be supportive and guide them in the right way but it’s about the team camaraderie. The team has to want to be there, cheer for each other, root for one another and really work toward the team success rather than the individual ambitions.” This team has the passion, the potential, and has created the supportive environment that will help them as the season unfolds.
Going forward, Huang says they look forward to beating schools that they haven’t been able to beat in the past. “We have New York University (NYU) coming up this weekend and The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) which are higher ranked than we are, and we’ve never played NYU before so we want to set the tone, start the record off strong,” said Huang. But ultimately, they look forward to competing against their New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rivals Babson College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. To beat them, Huang hopes to “push [themselves] to work harder and treat every practice like [they] are going to be champions” because winning “starts out with attitude and effort, and finishes with actions.”
The team deserves more Wellesley support as well. Although tennis is not a popular sport at Wellesley, Huang said having student support really energizes the team and inspires them to perform better. She and Ki appealed for Wellesley fan attendance especially towards the end of the season with the frequent NEWMAC matches, so get out there whenever you can and support Wellesley Blue!