After several weeks of hard work in school and on the court, my team mates and I sighed with relief when Spring Break was finally here. Ahead of us we had a five day trip up north for our two first ACC games for the season on the road. The bags were packed and our minds set when we left ready to fight some of the better teams not only in our conference but in the country. Our home game against Miami the week before had shown that we are a team with a lot of “heart,” on the threshold to a great upset.
Our first stop was the city of Harvard and Ally McBeal: Boston, where our team was to challenge BostonCollege. We arrived in Boston Wednesday afternoon and in two mini vans we made our way to Cambridge to check in at Hawthorn Suites. Rooms with Jacuzzis…heaven! After some cardio and a tasteful dinner this day was over and we went to bed ready to hit the courts in the morning.
The next day began with breakfast before we headed over to HarvardUniversity and MurrTennisCenter. Two hours of good tennis at the indoor courts made us all even more ready for the dual match the following day. We continued our Thursday to downtown Harvard Square where some of us took the opportunity to do some shopping. When we were ready and decided to return to the hotel, we all expected to finish our first day in Boston with dinner at PF Changs. But we were very wrong; our coaches had much bigger plans for us. After orders to wear comfortable shoes and clothes that we wouldn’t mind getting wet, we all met to do some team activities. Together we had to do a number of things, like figure out how to get the whole team over a wire without touching it, and how to balance a bucket of water on the top of our feet while taking off our shoes. It was about communicating, teambuilding and of course, to have fun. Lots of fun for sure, and luckily no one got wet.
The next day we all woke up ready to do what we were there for, the dual match. It had been decided that we would start of the match with the singles, due to limited court availability. So the game began with singles in the following order: Ania, Tapiwa, Alina, Nicola, Suzanna and Whitney. Right from the beginning it was obvious that we were competing against some very good players, and it would take a lot of effort to break them down, and we eventually did. Everyone was working really hard and when the final singles match was over the score was 3-3.
The doubles point was going to be decisive. It was exciting and nerve-racking, exactly like a dual match should be. Alina and Taps made a great come back after both losing their singles and destroyed their opponents in doubles. Whitney and Nicola were playing some great doubles as well, and when Nicola hit the winning overhead into the court, the happiness was complete; 4-3, we won! Unfortunately, we watched Ania and Suzanna lose their doubles, doing so after an amazing fight. The mission was complete, and we were extremely excited about the win, but tired and happy to be going back to the hotel to load up with energy to the next match.
We flew out to Baltimore, Maryland Saturday and started off with some court time before we went to the hotel to get ready for dinner. This was not only the day before another important match, it was also Anias birthday. T.G.I. Fridays was the restaurant of choice, and we celebrated her special day with singing and free cake.
Sunday was the final day of our trip and the day of our match against Maryland. We all knew that it was another strong team and that it would take even more “heart” and effort to beat them. The doubles started and unfortunately the energy was not really there. The matches went by pretty fast, too fast. Before singles, coach Jennifer and Oliver did everything they could to make us understand that we had a good chance to turn the match around. It was not about making the bigger shots and playing outstanding tennis, but to play solid, disciplined and aggressive tennis. The singles started and once again we started off a bit slow. However, we are a team that fights and competes hard, and this time was not an exception. The Noles did everything they could to push Maryland to their limits and tried to stay on court for as long as possible. We came up short, but not without an intense battle from start to finish. Suzanna was the last match on, and she eventually hit the winning shot in her match and won 6-4 in the third set. We just barely lost 4-3. Even though it was frustrating to be so close, knowing that we could have beaten them, I think that we all left from there feeling that in many ways we had won. Some really great tennis had been played and once again we put ourselves in a position to win.
Spring Break was over and we flew home. It was trip with Sodoku and the Nips. Don’t know what any of that is? Well, let’s just say that those two things helped make for a few laughs, at least.