One-on-One with Racquel Lyn '20

by Jonathan Katzman | 11/11/16 12:15am

screen_shot_20161110_at_52231_pm

Racquel Lyn ’20 qualified for the semifinal round of the ITA Regional Championship in October.

by Tiffany Zhai / The Dartmouth

In her first term at Dartmouth, Racquel Lyn ’20 has already made her mark on the women’s tennis team. At the Tribe Invitational in September, Lyn won two singles matches before pairing up with Taylor Ng ’17 and winning their doubles match during the Bulldog Invitational early in October. Without Kristina Mathis ’18, who did not play this term, Lyn stepped up and served as Ng’s doubles partner at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Northeast Regional Championship from Oct. 21 to 24. In their quarterfinal matches the duo defeated both the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University 8-7 and 8-7. In the semifinals, Syracuse University defeated the pair, 2-6, 6-7.

Hanover, New Hampshire is hardly the ideal tennis environment. Given the fact that you were ranked top-70 in the country coming out of high school and likely had your choice of colleges at which you could pursue tennis, why did you choose Dartmouth?

RL: I ultimately was considering all of the Ivies. I wanted to go to a school where I could have a great balance between academics and tennis. Dartmouth was actually not very high on the list until I visited the campus for the first time. I loved the sense of community I felt when I was here and that everyone really supported each other. I also loved the women on the team and Bob Dallis seemed like a great coach. Following my visit, Dartmouth was the only school I was thinking about!

Your college career is off to a solid start. What has this done to your confidence so far, and what do you think has allowed you to maintain such a high level of play?

RL: It has been a very great start to my first season. I feel more and more confident after each practice, and know that I am getting better every day. I think that the support of the team and both Dallis and assistant coach Dave Jones has helped me stay focused and determined. Being surrounded by a group of girls that work hard both on and off the court has really inspired me.

What do you consider the strengths of your game? Do you believe that you will have to make any adjustments at the beginning of your college career?

RL: The strengths of my game would probably be my groundstrokes, in particular my backhand. It is my favorite stroke in tennis and know I can use it as a major weapon against my opponents. I have made adjustments to my serve which has improved greatly since coming to college. I have also worked on finishing points at the net in singles and doubles.

How have your coaches been helpful so far?

RL: They have been amazing, and I truly believe that we have the best coaches at Dartmouth. They have not only helped me on the court but in the classroom. I think they understand what it takes to be a student-athlete at Dartmouth and support all of our decisions. I could not imagine having any other coaches for college tennis.

What are the overarching goals for the team this season? Do the goals for the fall season contrast with those for the spring as the matches are all team-focused?

RL: The goals for the season are to give our best effort in everything we do whether it is in a match, at our lifts or in practice. Ultimately, our coaches tell us all the time that they have no expectations for us before matches. They just want us to compete hard and “play Green.” I think the goals ultimately stay the same and that we all want to play and represent Dartmouth in the best way we can.

What has been the key to the success of your doubles partnership with Ng thus far? Given that she and Mathis played well together last spring, how do you see the doubles lineup shaping up when team matches begin?

RL: From the beginning, Taylor and I have had a great relationship and strong chemistry. She has been like a big sister to me, and I think we really understand each other’s games and styles. She pushes me to go for my shots and to be especially brave when we are playing, especially on tight points. Honestly, it’s all up to Dallis to decide on partnerships. Obviously, Ng is a great partner and I love playing with her, but I would also like the opportunity to play with other people on the team. I’m just happy to be playing for the Big Green!

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

Racquel Lyn is a member of The Dartmouth staff.