By John Bernstein
Among the most exciting and anticipated UR teams to look out for as the Spring athletic season approaches is the women’s tennis team. Boasting a perfect 5-0 record this season — dating back to September — the Yellowjackets have been flying high thanks to a core of youthful, talented players and handful of seasoned, tested and proven upperclassmen who constitute this year’s promising team.
Headlining this year’s crew is senior Lia Weiner, the team’s No. 1 player for several seasons now and easily its most decorated. An All-American in the 2008-09 campaign, Weiner has two ITA championships under her belt to go along with victories over several of the top players in the nation.
What is your major?
I’m a math and economics double major.
Why did you decide to attend UR?
I had a great visit and really liked the people here. As I live in Florida, I also was really excited about having all four seasons and snow!
Are there any particular moments during your college tennis career that stand out as high points in your mind?
Junior year was a high point as a team and individually. We beat Wash U. at UAAs, which got us a national ranking as a team for the first time since I’ve been here. Additionally, that fall I won ITAs for the second time and got one of the biggest wins of my career by beating the No. 13 player in DIII. I had lost to her the past two years in a row.
You defeated Colgate’s Stephanie Bender pretty easily, 6-1, 6-2. Were you at all surprised by the perhaps stiffer competition at #2 doubles?
Singles is definitely my strong point, but I’ve been working hard on my doubles. We were up throughout the entire doubles match so we did have the momentum and confidence to pull it out. One thing that could’ve gone better were my service games. Usually we’re able to win them, but in this match we just couldn’t convert the first few.
How do you gain the energy and motivation to win not one, but two matches in a single afternoon?
You just want to win every match, so if you have to play you’re going to do your best. Additionally, I think that singles and doubles are quite different, and I look forward to getting to do both.
The team is undefeated this season. What might you attribute the team’s success to so far?
Most of our players are returning from last year (we only graduated one person) and I think that everyone gets better with each year of experience. We also got a few a freshmen who have been very committed. The group we have has worked and continues to work hard to keep improving, and I think that each year we gain more confidence in ourselves.
With a long spring season ahead, what are your personal goals as well as hopes for the team this season?
As a team we have a lot of smaller goals, all building up to the big goal of making it to NCAAs. Along the way, we hope to beat Skidmore, who’s beaten us in the past and also just be able to mentally and physically give it our best in each match that we play.
Personally, I’d love to make either team or individual NCAAs (or both). Mainly though, I hope to have fun and be happy with how I’m playing. If that happens, hopefully all these other goals will fall into place.
Bernstein is a member of
the class of 2014.