Women’s tennis remains invincible through adversity

Coming off an outstanding year in the 2015-16 season, the MIT women’s tennis team is making a run at one of the most successful seasons in program history. The Engineers have started the 2016-17 season with an 8-0 record after sweeps of Emerson, Springfield, Mt. Holyoke, Clark, and Wheaton, and cozy defeats of Wellesley, Babson, and Smith.

Many Engineers remain lossless nearly halfway through the season, and the team has been performing well in both singles and doubles. Lara Rakocevic ’20 leads the way on singles with an 11-1 record (8-0 in the NEWMAC conference). Serena Le ’20 and Rena Liu ’18 have also made their marks in doubles' play, having gone 7-0 in their doubles play.

Coached primarily by seven-time NEWMAC coach of the year Carol Matsuzaki, the team consists of nine members, including at least one from each year. The team is co-captained by Sonya Das ’18, Dora Tzeng ’18, and Elysa Kohrs ’17.

After arguably one of the best starts to a season in history, The Tech spoke with Kohrs about the team. As co-captains, aside from shining on the courts, Das, Tzeng, and Kohrs help keep the team socially active by running activities among the teammates. They also stay in direct contact with the coaching staff.

Kohrs attributes both her success on the court and in the classroom in part to her teammates and her time on the varsity team. She spoke about the unique opportunity to play for MIT and what it has meant to her personally:

“It can be hard to balance tennis with academics, but it is so worth it. The highlight of my college experience has definitely been the opportunity to play tennis for MIT and develop relationships with my teammates and coaches. I think MIT has made me appreciate tennis and my teammates a lot because even when I have a rough week because of classes, practice time is two hours built into my schedule every day where I get to forget about academics and just be on the court with amazing teammates.”

Kohrs also reiterated the vitality of the varsity team culture and what makes the tight-knit group a team that sticks together strong through adversity:

“Our team culture makes being on the team about a lot more than just playing tennis. Between practicing, traveling, and just hanging out together, we’ve become really close and I think that motivates us during actual matches because we aren’t just playing for ourselves individually, we’re competing for our teammates, coaches, and school too.”