One-on-One with Kristina Mathis '18

by Sabena Allen | 1/22/18 2:10am

Women’s tennis co-captain Kristina Mathis ’18 has been playing tennis since she was five thanks to the influence of her dad. Here at Dartmouth, she has seen her team through many victories including winning the Ivy League Championship last spring. The women’s tennis team most recently won on Wednesday, January 17 against Boston University.

What made you want to play at Dartmouth?

KM: I think once I visited Dartmouth, I really fell in love with the campus. On my official visits, I thought that the team was very close. It seemed like they all got along really well, and I had a really good connection with both our coaches, so I thought overall it was a perfect fit for me.

What is your favorite part about playing tennis at Dartmouth?

KM: I really like being on a team. Before Dartmouth, I used to play just individual tournaments, but now this is my first time being on any sort of team. I think over the years I’ve learned to get used to being on a team, and now I like it a lot better than doing individual tournaments because you always have the team there to support you no matter if you win or lose. You always have other people you can talk to that know what you’re going through and know the hardships of tennis and balancing out school and tennis so that’s nice.

How has the team changed since you’ve been here?

KM: We try to keep the same traditions alive. We have kind of the same rituals that we keep even from my freshman year. Obviously my teammates have changed, and there’s always different team dynamics going on but I think for the most part there haven’t been very many major changes.

Two amazing players, Jacqueline Crawford ’17 and Taylor Ng ’17, graduated last year. How do you deal with the graduation of two outstanding players and leaders like that?

KM: I think you just look at both of their careers and what they’ve done for Dartmouth women’s tennis. They’ve accomplished a lot during their careers,and you kind of celebrate that. It’s sad seeing them go, but I still keep in touch with them. We all kind of keep in touch with them, but it’s just kind of the process. You’re here for four years, then you hgraduate but we keep them in our thoughts always. It’s a moving on process.

What are the team’s strengths this year?

KM: I think this year we’re all pretty solid in our game. I think the fall showed that a lot. I think that the freshmen are finally getting acclimated to what we are as a team and they’re learning how to cheer and all the rituals and stuff, so I think it’ll be fun tomorrow playing that first dual match of the season.

What were your takeaways from fall play?

KM: I think for me, personally, I’ve just been able to enjoy playing for my last year at Dartmouth. I’ve been trying to take each match not too seriously and just have fun. In terms of the team, I think I’ve been just trying to set a good example for the freshmen and the underclassmen and just show them what it is to be a Dartmouth women’s tennis player.

What is the team trying to improve on now?

KM: I think right now obviously Ivies in the spring is what we work really hard toward the whole year. Now I think we’re trying to work on getting more matches under our belt and learning how to play dual matches because obviously in the fall we don’t do dual matches — it’s more laid back. I think we’re just trying to get a lot of point play in to really learn the atmosphere of a dual match, because that is very different from the atmosphere of the fall. I’m excited.

What was it like to win the Ivy title last year?

KM: It was amazing. It was one of my goals coming into the team — I mean that’s everybody’s goal coming into the team, but I was really excited that it was our second time in history winning Ivies and it was such a great feeling.

How are people feeling about defending the title this year?

KM: I think we have a really good team this year. Even though Crawford and Ng are gone, we have some really great additions to our team and I’m pretty hopeful that we will do well in our Ivy season again. We’ll just keep working hard and supporting each other, and I think it’ll work out well.

What are the team’s goals for this season?

KM: Some of our goals would be just to keep working hard, keep supporting each other like we usually do and just work on individual things that we need to work on. Just getting a lot of matches under our belts again this winter will be good experience and good warm-up coming in to Ivies.

What moments have you been proudest of while playing at Dartmouth?

KM: Winning Ivies was a really cool moment for me. I always enjoy playing dual matches in the winter because they’re so fun and so different. I think my sophomore year, with my doubles partner and I going to nationals and going to NCAAs as the first team in program history to do that. That was pretty amazing as well, just getting to have that experience and living through that.

What are your personal goals for the 2018 season?

KM: I think for me: trying to win Ivies again, but just enjoying my last year here and not taking things too seriously.

Since you will be graduating this spring, how do you feel about your last season here at Dartmouth?

KM: It’s pretty sad, but I know I’ve given it my all these past three years and I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished. I hope that the team will continue doing the traditions that we were doing my freshman year and continue on the great streak that we’re on.

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