The Rankin File Returns!

March 15, 2007

By Rebecca Rankin


Our trip to North Carolina to face two top 15 teams in UNC and Duke began with an eventful start as the majority of our team almost missed the flight to Raleigh. Amongst huge security lines, spending too much time chatting over breakfast and a lack of time-awareness we cut it a little too close for comfort as we rushed down the terminal after hearing the final boarding call for the 7 missing passengers! To our amusement and amazement we just made it onto the plane in time for the 3 and a half hour flight to North Carolina.

            Luckily we had an extra day to practice, settle into the east coast conditions and recover from our near miss! Our first practice however was not without drama either as freshman Nadia Abdala realized she had only packed one tennis shoe! After various shoe swapping in which three of the team had to play in different size shoes, we just about got through practice to prepare for the matches. A trip to the mall the next day to buy a new pair of shoes was the saving grace for Nadia to prevent the coaches from finding out and more teasing from her teammates.

            Our first match against UNC in Chapel Hill started well, with us winning two of the three doubles matches to gain the doubles point. In singles, we battled well through sloped courts, gusty wind and some loud UNC fans to claim 4 singles victories and clinch the match against the number 4 ranked Tarheels. It was an excellent win against a tough UNC team and we showed that we were resilient enough to bounce back after some tough losses against California and Stanford the previous week.

            The following day, we took on Duke and were forced to play indoors due to cold weather and decisions made between both coaches. It was very different to say the least and took some time to adjust our eyes to the new conditions, hence a few completely missed balls and overheads in the warm up. Unfortunately we dropped the doubles point after losing two close matches. Singles followed and after struggling in two matches to go 3-0 down, we had to dig deep and find some momentum to keep us in the match. Nadia Abdala recovered to keep us in the match and take hers into a third set. Meanwhile Roxanne Clarke won her match and Kady Pooler looked to be in position to win. We were still in the match, however Duke gained the upper edge and won two of the remaining matches in 3 sets to win the tie 5-2.

            We came away from the weekend with a win against the number 4 UNC and a loss against number 11 Duke, proving once more that there is very little separating the top 20 teams. We also came away with the importance of being on time for our flight, remembering to pack our shoes and that the power of phone calls can never be underestimated especially in terms of entertainment value. In addition, our assistant coach Josh Goffi will most probably take better care of his phone next time (of course we couldn't let you live that one down Josh).

             A huge thank you should also be given to our loyal supporter, Andres Narvaez who traveled over 6 hours from Philadelphia to come and watch us play. The rare sight of maroon and gold in the crowd and cheering against the loud North Carolina fans was a great boost for everyone playing. Thank you Andres and next time you will have to come down to Tempe to watch and try to compete against the loudness of the Beanz team and their witty comments of `7-0 - that's a football score,' `change the score, change the score' and `extra point, field goal'.

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