The Lions’ duo entered the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Small College Championships at the Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala. unranked between Oct. 15 and 18. Senior Jackie Shtemberg, along with first-season partner, sophomore Felice Trinh, matched up against and defeated six teams en route to the final game.
Shtemberg and Trinh defeated not only six teams, but also upset the No. 1 seed from the University of Chicago in the first round. Junior Chrissy Hu and sophomore Kendra Higgins fell to the unranked Lions’ pair, 7-5, 6-4.
“The match against University of Chicago was the toughest game mentally because we were going up against the first seed and we knew we weren’t supposed to win,” Trinh said.
To reach the finals the Lions’ pair had to go through sophomore Laura Chen and junior Ashley Herrick of Carnegie Mellon University.
This match presented Shtemberg and Trinh with the greatest challenge of the tournmanet yet. The Lions won the first set 6-3. The Tartans responded by winning the second set 6-1.
The last set came down to the wire, but Shtemberg and Trinh came through in the third set 1-0 (10-9) and moved on to the finals.
“We felt confident and we had a positive outlook. But we knew Tufts was a good team,” Trinh said.
Junior Julia Browne and senior Meghan McCooey, the 2008 ITA National Small College champions, defeated Shtemberg and Trinh in two sets, 7-5 and 6-3.
“People didn’t expect us to go this far in the tournament,” said Trinh. “Neither team dominated, it was back and forth throughout the match — we held our own.”
“The finals were a bitter sweet ending to our fall season,” Shtemberg said. “This was the best anyone at the College has done ever in doubles. I’m a senior, but Felice is a sophomore and I hope she can go far in the future.”
Shtemberg, Trinh, and the rest of the Lions will continue play in the spring.