THE RANKIN FILE: The Season's First Road Test

March 6, 2006

In this week's edition of The Rankin File, Rebecca catches us up on the behind-the-scenes story from the women's tennis team's California road trip this weekend, against Stanford and Cal, and remembers what rain feels like.

The transition from sunshine and 135 days of no rain to heavy clouds and mean skies marked our first road trip of the season and our match ups against top-ranked Stanford and eighth-ranked California. As our seemingly empty America West flight landed in rain-soaked Northern California, we had three main goals: to snap Stanford's 67-match winning streak, to beat a top 10 team and Pac-10 rival in California and to somehow prevent rain from delaying the much anticipated matches.


Unfortunately, the weekend didn't go as planned in any of those ways, as showers rudely disturbed the sunshine at Palo Alto, causing several delays throughout the weekend. However, the dark clouds symbolized the dark day for our team as we failed to severely test Stanford. Starting with the singles matches, the Cardinal clinched the dual as they swept the first four singles matches. The doubles could not be played due to the impeding weather conditions and two of our singles matches could not be completed, leaving Roxanne Clarke and myself in mid-match scenarios.


A somewhat more resolute and determined team than we had been a few hours ago headed south past the beautiful San Francisco skyline and Golden Gate bridge to face a tough California team the next day in Berkeley. The array of sunshine meant that the regular match format could be resumed as we began with doubles play. The team of Sabrina Capannolo and Jessica Leitch took out the all-French Bears' doubles team handily, whilst the infamous duo of Pooler and Clarke lost in similar fashion to the Bears number one team. The doubles point came down to the third pair of Laila Abdala and myself (aka `Roids' and `Becs'), but despite a close match, we lost the match giving California the doubles point.


Singles play began and, despite the grit and determination we showed, California prevailed in 5 of the 6 singles matches. However a point or two here or there could have rapidly altered the outcome of the dual, as Roxanne and Laila held set points to even their matches and Kady held a lead in the third set. Unfortunately it was not to be, as the final result of 6-1 was much closer than it looked, as I'm sure many of the spectators could attest to.


We left Berkeley feeling frustrated at the outcome and realizing the level to which Pac-10 tennis continues to rise to, setting even higher standards each year. However the trip was not all frowns and concerns, as we have a knack of bouncing back and using humor to elevate the mood. The many accents we have on the team serve as the catalyst for many laughs, whether it was `the gray squarrel', `I-hope restaurant' or `Panda or pizza?' In addition, the downright craziness of some people (mentioning no specific names, of course) in asking where the `Eastin' hotel was, or singing at the top of their voices in the busy SkyHarbor airport, did the trick of raising some smiles.


Although our weekend wasn't successful, we've learned a few key lessons: to rise above the pack (as in Pac-10) on the next time around, that Wendy and I will never be able to speak without being teased, and that Kady Pooler definitely should not pursue a singing career (no offense intended, Pools)!


Until next time,



Past Editions of The Rankin File:

Feb. 14, 2006



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