By Pat Mariboe
Senior Sports Writer
The Washington College women’s tennis team is no stranger to the Centennial Conference Tournament, as the team will be participating in the postseason for the third consecutive season. In their last two playoff appearances, the Shorewomen made it all the way to the Championship Match, but lost on both occasions to Johns Hopkins 5-0.
Junior Krista Filiopoulos, a member of the team during both heartbreaking defeats, is looking for revenge this time around.
“It was hard last season knowing that we got so close, but I think it’s really going to fuel us to play our best tennis and do just as well and possibly event better this tournament,” she said.
While already locked in for a playoff birth with a 6-3 CC record and 10-6 overall record, the women still have one game remaining against the powerhouse side of Franklin and Marshall and they hope the match serves as a good precedent for what’s to come in the playoffs.
“It’s been a hard season because we lost some of our top players, but I think we’ve put in a lot of hard work,” Filiopoulos said. “F&M is a good team so we’re all excited to get out and compete with them and play our best tennis.”
It’s a bit of a different story for the men’s team. This is their first playoff appearance in nearly two seasons. The team’s performance has skyrocketed since last season, when they missed the playoffs with a 3-6 CC record and finished with 5-13 overall record. This time around, the team sits at a 5-3 CC record and an 11-5 overall record before their final regular season match against F&M this Saturday.
“Our team this season has improved tremendously from a year ago,” junior John Niswander said. “We are a more confident team, and fight harder and support one another until the end. We hope to finish the season out competing strong and playing with confidence on the crucial pressure points.”
While the team is certainly inexperienced when it comes to playoff matches, Niswander thinks WC has what it takes to make a name for themselves.
“This is the first time in the playoffs for eight of our 10 guys on the team, but our mindset is the same as it is heading into any other match: to execute our game plan and stay positive. We have worked hard all season on being aggressive in doubles and building our points the right way in singles. In the playoffs, we just have to be confident that what we have worked hard for all season will come together when it matters most.”
This will be the softball team’s second consecutive playoff appearance and they’re looking to make the most of it. After narrowly losing to Haverford in the Championship Round last season, junior Taylor Harcum is looking for a better result this time around.
“Losing to Haverford last year was devastating to our team and we’ve worked really hard so we don’t have to feel like that again,” Harcum said.
Harcum, who has been in the spotlight this season for several well-deserved Shorewoman of the Week and CC Pitcher of the Week Awards, believes that being recognized for such awards can only help encourage the team to perform at their highest level.
“Being recognized for all our hard work motivates us to keep working hard and to not give up,” Harcum said. “We have two important games this weekend that could help us host the tournament, so we are more focused than ever. We set one big goal for the season and if we keep working hard like we’ve been doing, it will be accomplished.”
Sophomore Maddie Bennett, another stand-out player for the Shorewomen this season, had high praises for her team’s effort this year and said her team’s defensive efforts as one of the main reasons for her team’s playoff push this season.
“This year, I feel like our defense has been especially strong,” Bennett said. “We are making less mistakes which really benefits when we play tough hitting teams like McDaniel.”
The rest of the teams in the CC certainly did not make it an easy trip to the playoffs for the women’s lacrosse team, however, after a hard fought 13-3 loss against Gettysburg and Dickinson’s 21-12 victory against Ursinus, the Shorewomen have just managed to squeeze into postseason play. Despite finishing the season with a 5-4 CC record and 10-6 overall record, the Shorewomen needed some help from other teams in the very tough CC and the luck just managed to fall in their favor.
The Shorewomen, led by senior stand-out Katherine Vincent with 71 points and sophomore Cecily Docktor with 43 points, have shown pure grit and resilience this season, after losing several close games, but always managing to bounce right back. The team has made it all the way to the CC semifinals the past four seasons now and they’re hoping that they can finally get over that roadblock and win the whole tournament this season.