Women’s Tennis Ready for Patriot League Championship

Colgate Women’s Tennis is having a respectable season, currently holding a 3-4 record. The team only had the opportunity to play eight teams this season, as opposed to the 20 matches that they usually play. However, they are one of the only teams that have had zero cancellations or conflicts with their 2020-2021 schedule, which is incredible considering the unpredictability of the world right now. The Raiders are gearing up to play in the rapidly approaching Patriot League tournament, starting Thursday, April 29, in Annapolis, MD.

The head coach of both the women’s and men’s tennis teams, Coach Bobby Pennington, expressed how impressed he was with his women’s team for remaining “unphased” during these strange times.

“We like to say that every day is the nicest day of the year because we’re out there playing,” Pennington said. “They like to use the word ‘unphased’ because at these times, you have to be unphased to keep this up.”

Coach Pennington mentioned that his team has been working well as a unit and making an effort to foster an inclusive environment for everyone on the team. He gave considerable credit to his two senior captains, Callie Bartimer and Ellie Simek, who he says have done an excellent job of rising to their leadership duties this season.

“A lot of obstacles have been thrown our way, but the Women’s Tennis team is no stranger to adversity. While this season has truly been unlike any other with three times a week testing, a shifting (‘fluid’) schedule and loads of uncertainty, we have made the best of it,” Bartimer said. “Cementing strong team chemistry is always a tricky thing for a more individual sport like tennis, but it’s a fundamental component of all college sports. We have all grown collectively — in overall maturity, in patience and in greater appreciation and respect for tennis and each other.”

There is no doubt that the captains for any team during 2020-2021 seasons have had to navigate new territory and uncover a whole new level of resilience. Simek explained that leading a young team has made it even more important to remain focused.

“The mindset is leaving it all out there in practice, matches, etc. because you never know what could happen. We really all have a renewed appreciation for our time on this team because of what we lost last year,” Simek said. “In the first round, I expect we will likely play our biggest rival, Bucknell. We lost to them in a very tight match earlier this season, so a win against them in the tournament would be huge.”

Pennington added that the Patriot League gets increasingly competitive each year and the need for constant improvement is vital for the Raiders’ success. 

“We have a very young team. We have six people who start and five out of six of those are freshmen or sophomores, so that bodes very well for the future,” Pennington said. “The Patriot League keeps getting better year to year. We’re going to have a tough team to play, anybody who we play in the quarterfinals.”

The Raiders are feeling confident and excited about the Patriot League tournament. Their plan is to battle it out until the very end and hopefully win the entire tournament.

“We never falter from a challenge, and this Patriot League tournament is no exception,” Bartimer said. “We’re stoked to compete in more matches! And whoever we play first, we’re ready to win!”