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Tribe Women's Tennis Blog
Updated: Tuesday 05/15/2013 (ET)
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Anik Cepeda
May 14, 2013

Masha is sitting next to me in the van clicking away at the keyboard – she’s filling out a list of questions for the coaches that are meant for reflection and future growth of the team – I am not returning next year, but I am still typing. We are on our way back from NCAA. A tough loss to Texas sent us home sooner than we would have liked. I could spend a good portion of this last blog describing Jeltje’s between the legs volley winner and Sydney’s relentless first set performance. I could also dedicate another section to our various culinary experiences in Charlottesville. But I’m not typing about that today. You’ve seen us play and you’ve followed us online. You know what the Leeza backhand winner looks like on match point. You know the Hope fist pump by heart.

We finished 12-0 at home this year – undefeated on Tribe soil – and you helped. We appreciate every snack bag, high five, Go Tribe, cookout, personal congratulations, and outrageous cheer (shout out to Sr. Guthrie and all traveling family members). Through your support, a fair amount of Frisbee matches, and focused mental work we took our games to new heights. At one point William & Mary held the #25 spot in the country. We are proud to have restored the roar.

Leeza, Jac, Masha, Sydney, Jeltje, Hope, Marlen, Jesse, and Tyler:
Congrats. I am already congratulating you on next year because I know it will be a great one. There is no need to knock on wood. I have oceans of confidence in your tennis games and even more belief in your Frisbee skills. I am excited for your future with Tribe Tennis and grateful for the opportunity to have spent exorbitant amounts of time with each one of you. I am struggling (for once) to find the sentences that might come close to conveying how I feel. I’ve been primed for crying after the NPR show about tears that we listened to this morning on our way to the match and so would prefer to keep this message void of mushy gushy loving.  In an effort to be concise and sincere … thanks. I love Tribe Tennis like I love fresh bread. And that’s a lot.

The greatest part about this whole blog is that it’s not the end. Masha and Jeltje will head to Illinois to play doubles in the individual NCAA tournament. Masha also qualified for the singles draw so she will be spreading even more Tribe Pride. What a super star. Follow their matches online with a potentially live video feed and certainly live scoring. I will settle into my porch chair with some cheese and cracks to watch their NCAA action – feel free to do the same. Best of luck to the team next year and see you all soon. That’s a promise. GO TRIBE!!!




Marlen Mesgarzadeh
April 17, 2013

Senior Day

Wait, what? Senior Day!? Myself included? Not sure any of us 2013 seniors really anticipated how fast this day would come into our lives – and I know I am still not really grasping the concept.

The day itself was comprised of various noteworthy events. Not only were our fans presented with both the Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams competing against ODU at the same time, but Kids Day, good food, and amazing weather also highlighted their day. 

Before the matches even started, a small crowd of tennis youngsters came together to hit off this year’s Kids Day. With huge support from Nina Vulovich, Jamie Whiteford, and Matt Waddell, Kids Day was filled with tennis fun in the sun followed by snacks, prizes, and Tribe Tennis. Thanks to everybody who participated this year and we are looking forward to welcoming more kids to future events!

I would also like to give a big shout out to senior Jamie, who not only demonstrated his ball feeding skills with the kids, but also revealed how much he was made for live entertainment. He announced the line-ups with his charming British accent and humor, getting everybody fired up for the matches!

Another big shout out goes to our artist Nina, who sweetened everybody’s senior day with beautiful poster boards. I can speak for all of us seniors- Adrian, Jamie, Anton, Anik, and myself – when I say that we are lucky to have you and your creative talents.

A big thanks also to the Aces for providing food and support during this gorgeous spring day. After a long sunny afternoon, we finished off senior day and the regular season with a win over ODU and are now getting pumped up to host the CAAs. As always, we are looking forward to seeing you all there!




Sydney Smith
April 2, 2013

Houston and Rice Blog

Before I give a recap of the Rice and Houston matches, I would like to give a shout out to Anton Anderson from the men’s team.  This past Tuesday the men and women’s teams held a mixed doubles tournament attended by our Tribe Aces. Anton and I were crowed champions and I attribute our success to Anton’s ability to get to every. Single. Ball.  I would also like to thank all of the Tribe Aces who came out to the event. We had a great turn out, lots of delicious food and an intense game of trivia with MC Hope Johnson. I know I speak for everyone on the team when I say we really appreciate events like this because we are able to sit and talk with many of our supporters. On match days, we are always a little distracted and focused on our teammates playing, so we enjoy the chance to actually sit and chat for a bit.

As for the trip to Texas, we started with an early departure: 6 am meeting at McCormack-Negelson. Two planes later we were in Houston and made a pit stop at Chipotle for lunch. Note to self: Chipotle pre practice = not a good idea (especially when it’s hot out!).  We got through a muggy practice outside and were excited for the upcoming day. We had all been looking forward to playing in the sun and the heat, but I guess we brought some weather from Williamsburg with us. Our match Saturday was cloudy and threatened to rain. We went down to Rice 2-5, but Anik and Jeltje pulled out their singles with some great play.  We competed well overall as a team. We were energetic and had to match or level of cheering to that of Rice’s over- zealous, thanks to Greek Week, fans. Unfortunately we were not as creative with our cheers as the group behind Jeltje’s court, who proceeded to hiss at her after points, or the group behind Hope’s court, who really embraced the idea of spelling out cheers.

We regrouped the next day and took down Houston 5-2. Hope “the wall” Johnson and Anik “where is that lob going” Cepeda clinched the doubles point at #2.  Masha, Hope, Jeltje and myself all won our singles. Leeza lost in a tough 3 set battle, but part of the reason may have been her lack of sunscreen.  She continued to get a brighter shade of red every hour after the match. You may now call her the lobster. Delirious and exhausted we returned home to a winter wonderland Williamsburg.  With some more outdoor matches under our belt, I’m looking forward to these final matches and post-season play! Come out and support April 5 vs. Georgia State, 13th vs. ODU and the 19-21 at CAAS!!





Masha Belaya
March 18, 2013

Back in Green and Gold!

Two weeks ago, the Tribe tennis team got to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity that, believe it or not, is quite a rarity in college tennis: spring break WITHOUT tennis. Yes folks, you heard that right.  After a stellar start to the 2013 season and a record of 11-2, we put our rackets in our lockers for a week and dispersed for some well-deserved vacation time. However, spring break left as quickly as it came, and we returned to Williamsburg refreshed and ready to dominate the rest of the season. However, a tennis-free week didn't come without consequences. We began the week with a lovely 7 am beep test to whip us into shape and continued with a daily dose of the dreaded "15 minute drill," which involved hitting one tennis ball for 15 minutes straight. With incredible consistency added to our arsenal (thanks Jesse and Tyler), we headed to Washington, D.C., to take on the Georgetown Hoyas and Maryland Terps. We were scheduled to face Georgetown on Saturday and after much uncertainty due to rain, we hit the courts for some duel match action for the first time in two weeks. Due to the threat of inclement weather, we began with singles first but were forced to play out the doubles point when we were tied at 3-3. Unfortunately, doubles didn't go our way, and we lost our first match in weeks in a hard-fought battle. However, the Tribe showed no sense of disappointment and rebounded the next day by beating the Terps 4-3, thanks to stellar performances from Anik, Leeza, and Hope. The Tribettes were rewarded for their efforts with a visit from William and Mary's own Megan Moulton-Levy who offered some words of support as we all stared at her in awe. Little did we know she was actually scouting Jeltje as a future doubles partner-sorry Megan, but Jeltje's mine for at least another year and a half. I wanted to give a special shout out to Jesse's mother, Anne, and sister, Jenny, for welcoming us into their home for an amazing dinner and treating us to an even more amazing dessert selection. Also a BIG "dank u" to Jeltje's parents and Myles Smith for being the best cheer squad a team could ask for.  The Tribe is set to take on Anik's ex-home state (Texas) next week! Keep following us on TribeAthletics and we'll be back in town for a home match before you know it. ROLL TRIBE.





Jeltje Loomans
March 12, 2013

Wake Forest

On our way to Wake Forest we knew it was going to be an exciting weekend because the men's team was playing at the same time next to us. After practice on Friday evening we had a nice Italian dinner with them at their hotel with GREAT bread (we all know the Europeans appreciated this as it doesn't happen often), and solid pasta. After warm-up on Saturday morning, we went out and clinched the doubles point in great fashion on court 3 with Leeza and Sydney dominating.

Singles was a lot tougher (well not for Anik she was done in less than half an hour and I think the other girl still has no clue what happened to her). After some close lost first sets on 2 and 3 Masha and Leeza pulled out their real guns and swung the Tribe to victory. Sydney and Hope went on court after Anik and I had finished because we only had four courts. Sydney played a great match, winning her points at net! So proud! Hope showed some great fight coming back after losing the first set but just fell short in the match tiebreak.

After our great effort we dropped off Leeza at the airport, she went home (Russia) for spring break, probably still wondering what hour of the day it is. The next day Hope travelled to St Lucia (in the Caribbean) to see her mom and spend days on the beach. Masha spend her spring break at home and the Keys in Florida, Marlen went to Panama City, Sydney went home and Anik, Jackie, Nina, Becca and I went to Vermont to ski. Even though some of us spend time in places that are hard to leave we are all excited to continue our season and to be back in the burg.

Thank you once more for all your great support and hope to see you at our next home match which will be against Georgia State on Friday April 5th at 3 pm. We will be traveling the rest of this month to Washington DC to play Georgetown and Maryland and Texas to play Rice and Houston. GO TRIBE!





Hope Johnson
Feb. 27, 2013

The Last Double Header.
Tribe vs UPenn 6-1
Tribe vs JMU  5-2

In my two and a half years in the Tribe tennis program I have only experienced two doubleheaders, and never completed a full days play on either one. Regardless, I couldn't quite contain my excitement when Tyler announced that this would be the last one for any of the juniors and obviously seniors on the team, (good luck freshies). The Tribe took on the University of Pennsylvania Quakers and the JMU Dukes last Saturday and quite frankly dominated throughout the 12-hour day.

Saturday opened up with a charming breakfast at Panera, where I am sure the staff know us by name, (and this is not the only Panera in the country that can do this). The doubles matches were clinically efficient, and as I am writing the blog I can brag that mine and Anik's No. 2 doubles win was my VERY FIRST DOUBLES win of the season thanks to the new "suspend the last match once the point is decided". So I am abnormally proud of this fact.  The singles started and Masha was done so quickly Sydney's only logical thought process was "Oh No, she's injured and pulled out", fear not my friend, the 6-0 6-1 win literally only took 45 minutes and her body is in sprightly condition. The singles matches weren't quite as quick on courts 4, 5 and 6 as we all battled through tight first sets and won, however the fighting spirit, the lack of coaching and the support from the fans pulled us all through to sweeping second set victories and some well earned Pita Pit after a 6-1 win.

The alternative Frisbee warm up between the matches only inspired the Tribe to compete even harder in our second match and we went out guns blazing with a switched up doubles line up which exuded similar success to the mornings performance. Singles flew by with good attitudes, great forehands and some delicious brownies (THANK YOU CAF WE LOVE YOU), and we found ourselves tired but fulfilled in the locker room after a 5-2 win. I am not sad to see my last doubleheader, but I am incredibly proud of my team for being so dedicated, tough, excellent, trusting and fun to be around which allowed us to be the best team we can be!

Thank you to all of our supporters, family, friends, bakers at the caf ;), and coaches for being there alongside us as we compete. We will try to continue our winning streak as we go away to Wake Forest this weekend and enjoy a more relaxing spring break than ever before!!!






Anik Cepeda
Feb. 25, 2013

On Fire Within

The first chords to her introduction were unmistakable. We sat in a slightly sweaty, stink suffocated by fruity body spray locker room. Our Tribe chairs curved around the music system and the white board - a makeshift stage. The emergency light served as the stage beam for our pre-match speaker: Masha Belaya. Her rendition of "I'll make a man out of you" from the Mulan soundtrack spoke to each one of our Disney grown hearts. We were inspired. We were joyous. Some of us cried. The tennis performance that followed was nothing short of Mulan saving China in an epic battle against Shan-Yu on the roof of the Emperor's Imperial palace.

For those of you who missed it: we knocked down West Virginia and the University of South Carolina in a back to back action packed weekend. West Virginia didn't stand a chance in doubles - the Tribe produced three dominating performances of lobs, dips, dives, and Jeltje-like volleys that made you tilt your head to the side and smile admiringly. Singles was more of the same story. And so we trotted home for a good nights rest with a comfortable 6-1 victory in hand.

On Sunday morning, Sydney's mother (Natalie Smith) was back for some more Tribe excellence. Splitting the doubles matches on courts 1 and 2, the first coveted point of the match came down to Leeza and Sydney on court 3. In a battle of the long points, the Tribe prevailed and stormed into the locker room feeling pretty much the same way Mulan felt when she buried the entire Huns army in a snowy avalanche. But the Huns, I mean Gamecocks, fought back. Fans rallied behind each court munching on whatever delightful goodie The Commons Cafeteria had baked fresh that morning. The atmosphere was electric. At 3-2 for the Tribe, Masha and Hope were locked in their own grueling third set battles. Masha would not be denied her chance to clinch, and she stormed to a decisive victory ... the Tribe has done it again. We are here to restore the roar. Vamos!





Leeza Nemchinov
Jan. 30, 2013

Sweet n' Short

Sneaky (Anik) didn't agree to write my blog for $5 and I failed to bribe her, so here I am writing it myself. I thought the Russian way would work but that clearly turned out to be the opposite of a successful negotiation. Anyway, this past weekend was full of excitement as we made our way to Boston, a city with so much personality. I absolutely fell in love with the city blanketed in snow, and the freezing temperatures that made me a bit homesick. Yes, cold weather over anything and everything.

So it all began at Richmond airport where we wished that someone had invented a machine that transports you to your destination in the blink of an eye. Basically, we were just really, really hungry and were way too anxious for dinner. Once we arrived to Boston, Masha offered that we stop for dinner at a Thai restaurant on the way to the hotel. This didn't quite go as planned as we could not find the Thai restaurant (thank you iPhones) and circled around the same area for about thirty minutes. At least we got a night tour of Boston University and Harvard thanks to Ty and Jesse-J.  Ok so now the dangerous scene happens. We ended up eating at the hotel restaurant, and when the waiter brought the bread ... It was attacked from every corner of the table (literally). It appeared as if we had never seen food before. Trivia question: What did Jesse order? (Hint: something exotic with double chicken)

The next day we played Harvard at 3pm. We lost the doubles point but most importantly we were able to take control, bounce back in singles, and clinch the win! And we could not have done it without our one and only Aussie, Jay-quil-in, Anik's parents, and brother for yelling at the top of their lungs and cheering us on. A few days before the match, Tyler announced that he was changing up the doubles line up. New teams: Neek & Syd, Hope & I. I had to warn Syd to take care of Neek's necklace situation, or I would have to shuffle from court to court during changeover and take care of business myself. Now that Hope and I are partners, we all know who the lobbing target will be for our opponents.

That night, Hope was playing doctor in the blister operation for Jeltje's feet. As Hope said "At least I got her pain from an 8 out of 10 to a 5 out of 10." This shows that we have the best group of girls. Not only are we willing to do gross things like that for each other, but we can also keep a straight face in the process. In the meantime, Jac and Syd were working out in the room. Around 8pm, I walk out of the shower and to my surprise I see Jackie and Syd working out. Wait, hold up. Was I surprised though? Their obsession and dedication to working out at any time of the day blows my mind.

Saturday was our last day in Boston and we finished our trip by playing Kansas State. We dedicated our pre-match time to Panera and a drive-thru tour in the heart of Boston. Before we headed to the courts to warm up, the injured group (Mash, Jetlj, Hope, Neek, and I) went for our daily routine at the training room. Mash and I decided that our left legs would look even better if they were wrapped in a beige bandage. I would lie if I said that we didn't get any confused looks every time we stepped foot into the training room. This may or may not have been related to the how loud Neek, Hope, and I were laughing at our underwater treadmill conversation and Hope's random question, "What would you do if your name was C****r?" Hope and I nearly won our doubles match against Kansas State, but the doubles point had already been decided. Neek and Syd dominated in their match. Masha and Jeltje obviously won- it's no big deal that they are 3rd in the nation. In singles, Hope and Neek were ballers and won their matches. Unfortunately, the rest of us were not able to end our matches on a good note. Of course, it wasn't the result we wanted but sometimes you need to take a step back in order to take two steps forward. I am ecstatic about the rest of the season, and would not want to experience it with any other group of girls or coaches. Everyone come out to support us February 2nd at 5pm! The men's team is playing as well on February 1st, and February 3rd. Davaiiii Tribe!

Ps- Marlen wasn't with us in Boston, and we missed her dearly. But with our group message and snap chatting, she was definitely with us in spirit. We would like to thank Marlen for everything she has been doing for us. We greatly appreciate it!





Marlen Mesgarzadeh
Jan. 27, 2013

Win against Ole Miss

As I am sitting here with my steaming morning coffee I am thinking of the tennis girls who are probably in the midst of their first warm up, getting ready to take on Harvard up in Cambridge. With our latest trend called GroupMe text messaging they do not even feel that far away as I am constantly updated on vital issues such as the discussions on groceries and restaurant selection. My new role as a non-traveling home event/food coordinator carries with it two main implications about my blog responsibilities for the matches against Duke and Ole Miss. First, I unfortunately did not travel with the girls to Duke and therefore cannot share any stories from that match. Second, I have to center my blog around our huge upset against Ole Miss. No problem!

I am sure I can speak for everyone who watched the match from an outside perspective as I did that this event last Tuesday night was truly extraordinary and by far my personal #1 out of all the matches I experienced in the last four years.  With a bang bang bang mentality later on celebrated with bang bang shrimp, the team and our fans imposed themselves impressively on our #18 ranked foe. From my little corner upstairs I saw freshie Leeza dominate her singles match quietly yet brilliantly on court 3, while Jeltje and Masha engaged in a constant fight with their opponents at positions 2 and 1. Jackie, who was repeatedly running back and forth to report the scores from courts 4,5 and 6 (thanks so much by the way, I can now identify you by the sound of your foot steps), kept me up to date on the solid performances by Sydney, Anik, and Hope on the other side of the center. Sydney, known for her unconditional commitment to playing every point with at least 150% commitment, fought herself into the hearts of all spectators and gave her opponent a hard time till the very last point. Anik, tough as ever, casually finished off the match in the third set by winning 17 out of 18 points after being down 3:5. Hope had successfully finished her match long before, giving the Tribe new hope with the first singles win, bringing us back into the match to a 1:3 score. Solid performances all the way.

Everybody was fired up, including our fans, who were either busy cheering or munching on cookies generously provided by the caf dining hall. Again, thanks for those, they were delicious!

It goes without saying that the atmosphere was beyond the ordinary and my heartrate jumped as high as it ever has. There were even rumors that the match lived on in certain people's dreams that same night, causing confusion and inexplicable text message conversations. Speaking of which, a big thanks to our boys for coming out to support us. You guys reached a whole new level!

The night ended with a screaming Dutchie, a 4:3 win, an unforgetful group hug, two proud coaches, and Qdoba.

As Jeltje nicely put it, this year we are writing our story together and as a team we are filled with excitement to carry this momentum on to the next matches.

Thanks for everybody who came out! Go Tribe.





Jackie Lee
Jan. 17, 2013

The 2013 Spring season has officially begun!

After 5 days of training, eating in every restaurant in Williamsburg, training some more, eating some more, watching Modern Family, and playing pass the parcel with a giant pickle, we found ourselves sitting in the locker room preparing for the first matches of the season.

Everyone had their own pre-match routine. Grips were being replaced, song requests were coming from every direction, girls were getting prepped with our super amazing trainer Jess, lots of questionable dance moves were in action (I admit most of these were from me), and others were somehow able to block all of this out and get in their zone. But when it was time to step on the court, everyone was on the same page. Pumped, focused, and ready to kick some Spider butt.

Unfortunately Jesse was stuck home sick with... well, everything. Nevertheless we went onto the court with positive attitudes and fought as hard as we could for every game and it all paid off. Hope you feel better soon Jesse!

I didn't play against Richmond but it was so exciting to see all of the girls participate. The atmosphere was amazing - thank you to all the supporters who came out to watch! We all really appreciate having you there and we look forward to seeing all of you and more in the coming matches.

Another big thanks to one of our super seniors Marlen for her incredible organizational skills including setting up the live scoring, updating all of the scores, making our own twitter account (follow us!) and various other things both before and on the day. Without Marlen everything wouldn't have gone so smoothly so THANK YOU!!!!

The day ended with two 6-1 wins against both Richmond and UMBC. For Leeza and I, this was our first College tennis dual match experience. I had such a good time both supporting and participating and I'm so excited for the matches to come!

This Saturday we leave to play Duke and on next Tuesday the 22nd we play at home against Mississippi at 6pm. I can't wait to be back on the court battling it out again! Hope to see you all there.





Anik Cepeda
Jan. 7, 2013

New Year's Blog

Happy ... whoa. Happy 20 WHAT?! I can't pretend this comes as a surprise. I wasn't holding my breath on December 20th. I recall dismissing "calendar" as an appropriate gift for one of my siblings more than once. And I was very much aware of the bagel bakery closing up shop on January 1st. But geez, 2013 sort of snuck up on me ... 5 days after it had already begun.

Here's what happened: I was watching my younger brother Marco play a tennis match when a parent to my right cleared her throat so softly I could only guess her next move was to shatter my peaceful wall of solitude. Note to reader! If you play tennis, your parent is not necessarily a tennis parent (TP). But if you're a TP, your child plays tennis. The distinction is important: Not all tennis players have TPs. The kind intruding lady to my right was a Type 1 TP.

Type 1: Your kid can beat you in a match. Therefore your kid must be a really good player.
Type 2: Your kid won a match once. Therefore you deck them out in the best Nadal gear.
Type 3: Your kid loses a lot. Therefore you deck them out in the best Nadal gear.
Type 4: Your kid is actually pretty good. Therefore you indulge in feigned sweet humbleness with other TPs until the moment your kid starts losing.  
Type 5: Your kid cheats. Therefore your eyes adjust and all those winners really are just out.

Anyways, back to the story. As far as reluctant adult conversations go, this one wasn't so bad. We exchanged casual "who are you watching" and "geez these seats sure are squeaky" pleasantries. All was dandy until she popped the graduation question. I answered easily, "spring of 2013." And I'm like, wait. Hold up. Spring of 2013.  Spring. Of. 2013. My sense of place evaporated. I forgot my role as delightfully charming undergraduate and did not commend her daughter's questionable forehand technique. Ladies and gentlemen, the time has arrived for the Tribe to play some ball.

Inevitably, the first couple strides of a New Year are flawless. (If you're Jeltje Loomans, every stride of the New Year is flawless.) For Tribe Tennis, a New Year means wiggling back into grueling match play, lots of ultimate Frisbee, and hopefully many impromptu massages. With pre-season just around the corner, the Tribe will be prepping for a fun spring. And by fun I mean tweeners, VAMOS, backhand down the line, third set thrillers, volley dives to make your tailbone tingle, outstretched left handed scoop shot net clipper with a dramatic flourish of the hair. Don't miss it. Spring 2013. It's here.





Sydney Smith
Nov. 21, 2012

Kitty Harrison Invitational

As I'm sitting here in my kitchen sipping a cup of chai, it hit that I had yet to write the blog. It has been one of those weeks where all professors decide to assign their major assignments on the same three days.  My apologies for the delay.... here is the wildly anticipated blog from yours truly, Miss Sydney Smith.

The Tribe split up last weekend for our last tournament of the season. The talented doubles team of Miss Masha Belaya and Miss Jeltje Loomans traveled to New York for national indoors. The first part of their journey was a great success and they made it to Philadelphia no problem. Unfortunately, their flight to NY was cancelled due to the incoming storm (not Sandy, but the one after Sandy. Poor NY), so Tyler, Masha, and Jeltje piled into a rental car and drove the last four hours to reach their destination. Masha and Jeltje steam rolled their first opponents 8-2. Unfortunately, in their quarterfinal math, their winning streak was brought to a halt by a team from Alabama.  They played well, but went down 8-3. While it's not the result we all hoped for, I think Masha and Jeltje have grown as a team this semester and I am so excited to see the damage they'll do this upcoming season.  Keep your eyes peeled for preseason rankings, coming out early December!

As for the rest of the Tribe, we traveled down to North Carolina for UNC's Kitty Harrison Invitational. After a quick dinner and after Leeza stocked up on every cold and flu remedy known to man, we checked into our hotel and got a good night's sleep. I would just like to give all of our fans a small taste of what it's like on one of these tournament days, so, in summary, the day in the life of a collegiate tennis player, Friday November 9, 2012:

7 am: Wake up, turn on ALL THE LIGHTS so everyone else wakes up too

7:25 am: Head downstairs for the awesome free hotel breakfast: oatmeal and bagels galore. Jackie and Hope spread Marmite (the veggie version of Bovrel, a very salty spreadable substance not to be eaten alone... JMC found out the hard way - it's not chocolate!) on their toast and eggs.

7:45 am: Depart hotel, JMC's curbside service minimizes time outside in the cold!

8-9 am: Warm-up. If you're lucky you can warm up inside. If not, outside in the cold. If you're Anik: court 136....

9 am: First doubles match. Team Dynamo (freshie Leeza Nemchinov and Senior Anik Cepeda) returned for this tournament and I teamed up with freshie Jackie Lee. Both teams were met with success and won their first round.

10:30 am or 12 pm: First singles match

1:30 or 3 pm: Second singles

5:30 pm: Leave the indoor center. Bear in mind that we finished the earliest we ever have during a tournament day. The norm is to be at the center for at least 12 hours and somehow the Tribe always is the last team to leave! Not this time, we actually had time to shower before dinner.

6:30 pm: Dinner at the twisted Noodle! So delicious we went back Saturday too...

8 pm: Go back to the hotel. We celebrated Hopie's 21st with cupcakes and "team snacks" (chocolate covered everything courtesy of Nina)

10 pm: I go to sleep.

11 pm: Everyone else goes to sleep.

Repeat. on Saturday with two doubles matches and one singles.  This is just a taste of what a tournament is like. They are definitely long days.  Sundays are tough. Everyone is exhausted and eager to get back home.  However, the Tribe made sure to leave its mark. Jackie and I lost a tough match in the final of doubles, went down 9-7!

Not the best results from dubs, but we brought it in singles.  Leeza and I won our singles in straight sets. Anik and Hope battled back after losing first sets. Anik pulled hers out in the third. Hopie went down 10-7 in the super-tiebreaker, but competed beautifully and frankly was a great way to end the fall. 

The team has grown and improved greatly this fall. Tyler and Jesse have prepared us well and I cannot wait for January to come around.  Spring season is looking good for the Tribe.





Maria Belaya
Oct. 30, 2012

Operation: Regionals

As a first time blog writer, I have very big shoes to fill thanks the blog legacies left behind by Anik, Hope, and Jeltje, so I plead you all to cut me some slack. Initially, I intended to provide a video compilation of regionals, the biggest tournament of the fall, but alas, the second I began filming a 5 minute clip of the van ride and realized it had not been recording, I knew that a video blog was just not in the cards for me.

We journeyed to Blacksburg, Va in two groups: Nina and Sydney were the first to depart the Burg to dominate in the qualifying brackets of the tournament, and dominate they did: the girls ruthlessly defeated their opponents to make it into the main draw of doubles. A second group of Tribettes (consisting of Anik, Leeza, Jeltje and I) made it to Blacksburg on Friday, reuniting with our beloved junior (Sydney) and senior (Nina). Saturday marked the beginning of a grueling 4 days-requiring a total of 10 matches. The day began with doubles play, with Anik and Leeza, along with Jetlje and I winning our matches, while Nina and Sydney came up just a little short against a tough Marshall team. In singles, Leeza was able to dismiss a girl from Maryland thanks to her screaming backhand winners (and my uncanny ability of being a "Terp" whisperer), while Anik lost a tough three set battle to a girl twice her size. However, despite the wins and losses, the biggest and most successful mission of the day was termed "Operation Scooby Snack". As the Hokies had learned, there is no stopping the rare species of animals known as the Tribe from taking down their prey-which this time turned out to be Scooby Doo gummies. We ruthlessly foraged and refused to give up until we filled our mouths with the sweet, artificially flavored taste of victory.  After a nail-biting round of "Wits and Wagers" at dinner, the Tribe snuggled up in the amazingly comfortable Comfort Suites beds, dreaming about whose head-- Scooby's or Shaggy's-- tasted the best.

The second day of tennis proved to be just as grueling as the first-Leeza and I both lost heartbreakers to two different UVA girls. However, doubles proved to be a "smashing" (pun intended) success with Leeza and Anik upsetting a seeded UVA team thanks to Leeza's unwavering groundstrokes and Anik's angelically soft hands. Jeltje and I were also successful in beating a Marshall team. Operation Scooby Snack continued in full swing, while Jeltje and I were busy planning our celebratory horseback ride on one of the horses grazing in the field next to the tennis center.  On the third day of regionals, Leeza and Anik barely lost to another Marshall team. However, it is not the results that measure your success, but the support you provide to others, and Leeza and Anik won the U.S Open of cheering during Jeltje and I's doubles match against Virginia Tech. Without the loud "Vamos Russia!" or "So sick Dutchie!" we would not have been able to fight back from a 4-7 deficit and two match points. Since our cheerleaders had to leave go back to the Burg after our match was over, Jeltje and I did our best to continue that vibrant energy into the semifinals the next day.

The last and final day of the Regional tournament proved to be a battle between UVA and the Tribe: Jetlje and I faced a UVA team in the semifinals and the finals. Having overcome another close call in the semifinals, trailing 7-5, we were able to come back and win the match once again and steam roll through the finals to win our second title of the year and our first regional tournament. Thanks to the win, we eagerly anticipate showing up to the National Indoor Championship in Flushing Meadows in Dutch and Russian style to represent the Tribe in the most aggressive, yet most lady-like way possible. Go Tribe!





Jeltje Loomans
Oct. 15, 2012

Tribe Invite

So I am sitting at a table 'doing work' (with this I mean eating some delicious chocolate cake, thanks Shirley) while I realized it is my turn to write a blog.  Please bear with me; Anik and Hope set the bar really high. What to write about? Honestly I have no idea where to start ... Maybe a little bit about tennis first. Last weekend, we hosted our 20th Tribe Invite. This was the first time together as a team under Tyler and Jesse. We started a beautiful Friday morning with doubles trying out some new pairs. It was fun to see everyone play some good tennis throughout the weekend. Leeza and Anik made it to the finals of their doubles flight and only just fell short in a great match against VCU.

Some of our extra observant fans may have noticed the beautiful hair scrunchies some of us were wearing on Friday. Believe it or not they were handmade by our freshie Jackie Lee from Australia, in an "I am so excited to go to college!!" mood I would reckon. Jackie is never excited about anything. Another great effort from one of our freshies this weekend was Leeza grabbing an insane amount of food from the caf for lunch on Sunday. She packed 200 bagels, 100 scones and 300 muffins in two to go boxes and filled up two cups with peanut butter much to the delight of Sydney. One more note about tennis, on Saturday Hope and Masha were fighting for the title of the longest match of the day. I unfortunately missed the battle of our giants (yes Mash you are a giant) but I believe Masha won it. Hope took her revenge on Sunday by playing another three-hour match against Leeza, way to make the hours Hopey.

So after a nice weekend of well-deserved rest, we will play regionals starting on Thursday. I know we are all excited to do some damage there. But more importantly: I can't wait to hear from Anik and Nina what the final judgment on my blog writing skills is. Thank you for all for your never ending support and hope to see you out there soon!

Hope Johnson
Oct. 10, 2012

Then There Were Four

It is always such a beautiful thing in Williamsburg when the fall emerges, with the gorgeous foliage; cooler mornings followed by sunshine filled days and the emergence of an unbeatable virus around campus. Our travel team of 9 was initially struck down to 8, as Jeltje fell to this invisible foe, and gradually as the week went on it was deemed only Anik, Sydney, Nina and I were destined to journey afar to Blacksburg and represent the Tribe in the Hokie Invitational, alongside Tyler and Jesse of course. Armed with pillows, cheese shop sandwiches and apples possessing watermelon identity issues, we began our ride west to mountain country.
The first day went by within an indoor tennis center with similar characteristics of a sauna. I am not entirely sure how they managed to get such a large area so hot, but there are some Bikram Yoga gurus who truly need to go and see what Va. Tech is offering. Whilst I sat by purely watching Anik and Syd battle through two extremely close three-set marathons, I had sweat dripping from every pore and found myself jealously eyeing Jesse who was stoically sitting still in sweat pants, the absolute definition of toughness. He was broken by lunchtime! This was then topped off with Anik being attacked by a preying mantis, it honestly eyed her up, prepared to pounce, and the next thing we knew "Bernie" as we affectionately named him was attached to her neck. The matches were of a very high quality and despite not getting the W in all of them the inputs were top notch (an englishism for "very good!").

Friday night the six of us got to experience the enormity (and I use this word very specifically) of the "Milano Family" restaurant in Christianburg, Va. They produced three of the biggest salads that may have ever been created in the history of salad production (a bold statement that I am willing to stick by), I believe Nina won her battle with the greek salad, Jesse lost 4 in the 3rd with the grilled chicken salad and I was completely obliterated by mine. It wasn't even close. Touché Milanos.

Saturday broke a far more successful day, the sun shined all day, we had a series of wins, however the evil unknown virus had apparently hitched a ride in the van with us and silently taken Nina into its grips. I would continue counting down but it seems a bit sad at this point! Regardless, play ended earlier and we ate a superb dinner at Backstreets, on Main St. Sunday ended on good form, some solid wins from Sydney and Anik and Nina and Syd won the consolation draw of the doubles.

Lots of learning occurred on this trip, the importance of competing over playing well was thrust upon me in my one impromptu singles match of the weekend, supporting each other in the many ways that are necessary TO GET through 8 matches in 3 days and the completely insane way tennis players will clear out any sort of snack bar within 10 minutes of 9 o'clock regardless of when they ate breakfast. Tyler was continually amazed by this process, which started every morning and continued to repeat itself as every basket was replenished throughout the day. Hey, what can we say, we love food. GO TRIBE.





Anik Cepeda
Sept. 13, 2012

Guess who's back?

Sometimes we're late, sometimes we're early, but we're never "out" of time - and so invariably a new Fall semester begins here at William & Mary. Which means you now find yourself reading the Women's Tennis Blog, because let's be honest this year: they rock. They rock because the characters rock. And like in any storybook, here in Tribe Tennis there are characters that enter, characters that leave, and some, like the courts and the infamous turf, that stay for a good while.

I'm skipping over summer road trips, country hopping across Europe, Ben & Jerry's, that golden man Mo Farah, beach bungalows, improvised hill runs, learning, and the last slurp of one's granizado de limón not because it isn't exciting, but because these are all topics you can enjoy in face to face conversation with any one of my fantastic teammates. New to this year's group are a pair of freshmen who I will introduce briefly, but honestly (really trying to stick to some sort of theme here...).

Leeza Nemchinov has a diva for every day of the week. There's "on court" diva, "I really need a manicure" diva, "oh no you didn't" diva, and my personal favorite, "I'm such a diva" diva.  Leeza is very Russian...there's an unmistakably loud Russian soul prancing about in this new feisty member. Besides planking for minutes at a time, Leeza also enjoys a warm spinach dip with a nice big bowl of Tostitos Scoops. If you spot a blonde tennis girl who is shorter than Jeltje (but taller than Sydney) stop by to say "hello" in Russian. She's always looking to enhance her bilingual skills. ;)

Completing our freshman duet is Jackie Lee. Jackie is a solid day younger after traveling all the way from Australia. Along with tennis racquets and shoes, she also brought along an impressive collection of heels. We are the same shoe size - which means nothing more than having feet of similar lengths. If I was Nina it might mean a whole new wardrobe of possibilities. But no, it'll be 2020 before you see me strutting by in 6-inch heels. Jackie always carries a handful of milk chocolate koalas in her bag because well...she's from Australia. If you want some chocolate, or just really feel like listening to a silky accent, introduce yourself to Jackie!

A new coaching staff enters the Tribe line up as well this Fall. Tyler Thomson and Jesse Medvene-Collins are excited to be working with the Tribe. If you can't tell by Tyler's voice, then look to watch one of our on court workouts. His enthusiasm manifests in a series of intense rhythmic drilling. If you can't reach one of our workouts, feel free to shoot Tyler an email. He's really good about email. If Tyler is somehow unreachable (which is not possible if you choose the email option) you won't have to look far to find Jesse. Jesse, bless, is actually one of the kindest people I have met. And I really can't find anything to tease him about...which is a super bummer. Jesse, I'm sure by the end of the year I'll have a bit of good material - for now you've escaped the wrath of the blog.  

Follow our results online when we split the Tribe this next weekend traveling to Duke and UVA! As always, GO TRIBE!

Quotes of the Week:

"He's as mad as a hippo with a hernia" - Zaszu from the Lion King

" that a saying?" - Jeltje

"I feel very sick" - Nina

"Me too" - Jeltje

"Like seriously sick" - Nina

"I feel fine" - Marlen

"Everything is so good ... but so bad!" - Masha



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