Women’s Tennis Prepares for Conference Matches Through Division II Competition


Courtesy of GoYeo

The women’s tennis team has been preparing for the season by competing against Division II schools.

Tomorrow, the women’s tennis team will play DePauw University in their first North Coast Athletic Conference matchup of the season. The team has been preparing for conference play in an unusual way: Instead of competing against Oberlin’s peers at Division II schools, Head Coach Constantine Ananiadis purposefully scheduled Division II matches. 

“If you want to beat the best, you gotta play the best,” Ananiadis wrote in an email to the Review. 

The team currently has a 3–6 record, but Ananiadis said this is due to playing Division II matches. 

“We have a good team this year with lots of potential and we could easily be 9–0 if I had scheduled easy non-conference teams,” Ananiadis wrote. “But how does that prepare us for DePauw, Kenyon, and Denison? They’d look like three-headed monsters if we didn’t play these tough matches in February and early March to prepare us. Now, when we do play them, they won’t seem all that challenging to us. … We’ve seen worse!”

Third-year women’s tennis player Dina Nouaime believes that playing schools at the Division II level has helped her teammates prepare for when they face any challenges.

“A lot of the teams in Division II are more vigorous in terms of competition, play, and mindset,” Nouaime said. “In Division II, there’s different rules, too — competition being seven points as opposed to nine, and doubles only counting as one point. Given that we start with those doubles, we have to come out more explosive to secure that initial point.”

Being fueled by the shock of Division II competition, the desire to win fuels the team for future competitions.

“We’re all feeling motivated against the teams we have these sort of rivalries with,” Nouaime said. “What we faced so far has really prepared us and hardened our mentality.”

Fourth-year Francesca Kern says she believes there isn’t that big of a gap in between Division II and Division III team abilities. 

“Oberlin is a lot better than a fair number of Division II teams,” Kern said. “We chose to play a lot of competitive teams, which was really good because we have a high level of ability on our team all around. We competed really well, which only prepares us for our season ahead.”

Kern is exhilarated to come out with a new tenacity and eagerness to prove what the Yeowomen can do.

“I’m really excited for the season because I believe we have the best team that I’ve experienced during my time at Oberlin,” she said. “Especially considering our inability to compete in previous years due to COVID, I’m just grateful for the opportunity to play and compete with a high likelihood of success for me, personally, and for the team as a whole. I’m really looking forward to spending the rest of the season bonding with my teammates before I have to graduate.”