The Tufts University women’s tennis team returns to the courts with its largest roster in many years this spring.
Fourteen players will suit up for the Jumbos, and head coach Kate Bayard and her staff believe the team has outstanding depth. They are hopeful that most if not all of the Jumbo players will compete in matches during the course of the abbreviated 2021 season.
The group is led by senior captains Kiara Rose and Patricia Obeid, who were a part of the Jumbos’ NCAA qualifying teams that advanced to Regional finals in 2018 and 2019. The NCAA Tournament was not played last year due to COVID.
Specific line-up positions remain to be seen, but the Jumbos have more than enough talent to fill up their singles and doubles spots.
(Action photos from 2019 season)
Obeid and juniors Maggie Dorr, Nicki Frankel, and Caroline Garrido were all in the singles top six throughout the 2018-19 season, when Tufts advanced to the NCAA Regional Final for the fourth consecutive year. Rose and junior Anna Lowy also have significant experience. Tilly Rigby, Maddie Suk, Casey Cummings, Michelle Shub and Kennedy May lead a strong sophomore class that had their first season at Tufts interrupted last spring. They will be important factors this year. Freshman Zoe Kava is expected to contribute right from the get-go.
The doubles tandem of Dorr and Garrido will look to pick up where they left off. They were All-Americans in 2019 after finishing the season as the #6 ranked duo in the nation. They played in the NCAA Division III Doubles Championship to cap that freshman year for both. Lowy has been a regular in the doubles starting line-up, while Rigby and Suk combined for some success in 2019 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England doubles action. However, the doubles pairings for the 2021 season are still a work in progress.
While the singles line-up is also still being determined, several players who have achieved accolades will play a part. Obeid, who was the NESCAC Rookie of the Year and a second team All-Conference selection earlier in her career, has been a regular for the Jumbos since she arrived on campus. Rigby, who started at #1 singles in the team’s only spring match against Connecticut College last year, enjoyed fall success in her freshman campaign. She advanced to the singles final in the MIT Invitational and received #28 national and #10 regional rankings in singles for 2019-20. Frankel (16th), Suk (21st) and Cummings (22nd) were also ranked in the Northeast by the ITA in April 2020.
Tufts will play its first home match in over 400 days when the Jumbos host Connecticut College on April 17. They are playing at Lower Campus Courts this spring, with their usual home at Voute Courts being used to house the campus modular residential units (the mods) that were built for isolation and health monitoring during the COVID-19 pandemic.