Women’s doubles partners ranked No. 10, adjust during fall

by Alex Leibowitz | 9/26/16 12:00am

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Doubles partners Kristina Mathis ’18 and Taylor Ng ’17 are ranked 10th in the ITA Preseason following last season’s successful run.

After reaching the NCAA tournament last year for the first time in Dartmouth history, Taylor Ng ’17 and Kristina Mathis ’18 enter this fall ranked 10th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division I Preseason Doubles rankings. This coomes after Ng and Mathis went 14-2 last season and qualified for the NCAA Doubles Championship this past May. When they were selected for the NCAA tournament, they were ranked 20th.

Since Mathis is not on this fall, Ng will be playing doubles with some of the team’s four new freshmen: Catherine Cable ’20, Chuyang Guan ’20, Racquel Lyn ’20 and Allison McCann ’20. Guan, Lyn and McCann already made their mark this season, helping the Big Green at the Tribe Invitational from Sept. 16 to 18.

Although it may be a challenge to figure out how to work well with another player in a short amount of time, Ng said she is optimistic because the beauty of doubles is that players are not locked in with the same person.

“You can learn from other people as well,” Ng said.

What is important for Ng and the rest of the team in this situation, she said, is to get experience playing and incorporating what she learned from the last few matches.

“I think playing with each of them has helped us all identify what our strengths are, the potential for new partnerships and also things we would like to work on individually,” Ng said.

When Mathis and Ng first paired up two years ago, Ng finished the season with a 14-8 doubles record, and Mathis ended with a 13-6 record. Both ended the 2015 season ranked at No. 1. In the NCAA Doubles Tournament, they ended the season with a loss to Arizona State in the Round of 32.

Women’s head tennis coach Bob Dallis said playing with Ng gives the freshman players an opportunity to play doubles with a really high level doubles player.

“[They can] understand a lot of the concepts that we’ve been working on,” Dallis said.

While none of the players know who Dallis will pair together, Ng and Mathis are looking forward to the winter and spring seasons.

Mathis said she was a little sad about not competing this fall.

“I definitely wish I could have played with her a little bit more, but like I said we have the winter and the spring season coming up which will be fun,” Mathis said. “And spring break will also be really good. So we still have some time to play together.”

The players reminisced about what they learned from the other and what had made them so successful. Regarding the team’s ability to communicate well, Ng said a strength they share is being able to know where the other person is on the court without needing to see her.

In the past two years, Mathis said she has learned a lot from Ng.

“She’s pushed me out of my comfort zone. She pushed me to try new things,” Mathis said. “I think we’ve been really successful together, our games really complimented each other.”

Regardless of who Dallis pairs up this season, both players are focused on setting and accomplishing their goals and finding success again. Ng will take on the added role of serving as co-captain with fellow senior Jacqueline Crawford ’17.

If they were to be partnered together, Mathis said she will approach their games in a similar manner as before.

“Every single match has been really important to us no matter who we play and no matter where we play,” Mathis said. “I think we just try one hundred and ten percent each match and try to keep a good attitude and try to be the best teammates we could be to each other and to the whole team.”

Ng echoed Mathis’ sentiments regarding the need to identify where she and Mathis can improve.

“For me, it’s getting a bit more comfortable at the baseline, and for Kristina its getting a bit more comfortable at the net,” Ng said. “I think once we do that will really take our game to the next level.”

This weekend, Ng and the rest of the team will travel to Los Angeles for the ITA All-America Championship, which will be held from Oct. 1 to Oct. 9.