Jung Hoon Bae
The women’s tennis team cruised a 9-0 win in their Midwest Conference season opener at home in a double-header against Knox College and Monmouth College on Sept. 12. The team went on to beat Illinois College 9-0 the following day.
“We expected that we would win everything, just on the knowledge on the other programs and our relative strength,” said head coach Andy Hamilton ’85. “We had expectations to do well.”
Four out of the top six players for the Pioneers are first-years, which is something that excites Hamilton.
“We have four first-years that are making a big impact: number one singles player Judith Fan, Amelia Cogan, Megan Jans and Lily Hamilton [all ’19],” he said.
Out of these four, coach Hamilton thought Fan stood out in particular.
“I was really pleased with the play from Judith Fan. … when you play number one singles you play really good players and Judith beat all three [this week] pretty handedly,” he said.
Hamilton wasn’t the only one praising Fan, who is now 3-1 in singles on the season, as a key factor behind the Pioneers’ success.
“Judith played really well,” said Anushka Joshi ’18. “She had the hardest opponents, and she beat them all.”
Fan was humble and a bit shy when she knew that both Lily Hamilton and Joshi mentioned her as the standout player of the week.
“I try not to let my teammates down, I also know what I have to do to win so I try to do that,” Fan said.
She feels it is a different experience playing at college level.
“There’s a lot of practice but my teammates help me get through it,” Fan said.
Like most student-athletes, Fan is constantly thinking about how to balance athletics and academics. With a game on Wednesday away against Luther College coming up, her highest priority is trying to stay relaxed. Fan feels that upper classmen like Joshi, Minna Montgomery and Julia Rumley (both ’16) are setting a good example for the first-years.
“[They] showed us what the team is like and the mindset for tennis and education,” Fan said.
Joshi also had a good week, going undefeated in both singles and doubles. Joshi played doubles with Megan Jans ’19 for the first time in Midwest Conference competition.
“It was our first chance to connect,” said Joshi. “It worked pretty well.”
Fan knows that as a Pioneer, the expectations are high for the season but she is trying to stay calm and relaxed to play her brand of tennis throughout the whole season.
The Pioneers hope to continue the good momentum into this week as they are playing their Conference rival , Cornell College, on Saturday. Fans can catch the game at 1:30 p.m. at the tennis courts.