Congratulations to Emerson's four Women's Tennis Seniors, Cassia Burns (Tewksbury, Mass.), Sarah Skeeles (Hamden, Conn.), Mackenzie Swaney (Old Lyme, Conn.) and Jolin Cheng. Head Coach Aaron Bergeron comments on all four seniors below:
Why we'll miss her: Cassia was the player every coach wants to have on the team. She listened, implemented changes in style and strategy and was a model team player. She was a quiet leader and led by example.
What young players can learn from Cassia's career: Hard work pays off. Cassia worked hard throughout her career to play in the starting lineup and her Junior year she became a mainstay and important part of our top 6.
Memorable Moment: In our first conference win in 4 season, Cassia and Jolin dominated Smith College's #3 Doubles pairing and Cassia won her singles match 2 and 1 at #6 to give us two much needed points en route to a 7-2 victory.
Why we'll miss her: Mackenzie was such a vocal leader and a rock for our team for the three years she played. Like Cassia, Mackenzie will be graduating early and despite a consistent stream of injuries, she remained a constant presence and leader.
What young players can learn from Mackenzie's career: You need a love for the game. Even though Mackenzie suffered a shoulder tear that took her off the court for a year, she came to every team event she could. She loved being around the sport and her teammates, and that's a quality that benefited all members of the team.
Memorable Moment: During the fall of the 2018-19 season, we were missing our top two players, and Mackenzie stepped up for us against non-conference rival Salem State. She won two points for us dropping 5 games total for the day. We won the match 6-3.
Cheukling (Jolin) Cheng
Why we'll miss her: Jolin was an absolute beast on the tennis court. Her style was unassuming and her opponents routinely took her lightly. Advantage Jolin. She missed fewer shots than I have ever seen a player miss, which allowed her to compete with just about everybody she faced.
What young players can learn from Jolin's career: Keep it simple! Jolin was a master of the most basic goal in tennis… keep the ball in play. She also never got down on herself when she did miss, something that can make even the most talented player self-destruct.
Memorable Moment: Even though it was not ultimately a winning effort, Jolin's battle against MIT during the 2017-18 season was truly something to behold. Every game went to deuce and Jolin was battling back and forth with one of the top players in the country. She probably gets annoyed with how often I bring it up but it really was impressive!
Why we'll miss her: Sarah embodies the word compete. Her style is very unorthodox which throws opponents off and she's one of the scrappiest players I've coached yet. In tennis, being scrappy is a very good thing, and it's something we coaches wish more players were capable of.
What young players can learn from Sarah's career: If a player coming in can hone in on the competitiveness Sarah brought to each practice and match, they are already ahead in the race. Sarah fought for every point which is something that should not be taken for granted on the tennis court.
Memorable Moment: Down in Florida on spring break this year, Sarah found herself in yet another 10-point tiebreaker. These are grueling to get to (players must split sets) and more grueling to win. Sarah was down 9-1 and used every bit of her competitive fire and will to get the score to 9-7 before eventually losing in the Florida heat. Regardless of outcome, I will never forget the grit she showed out there that day.