No offense, but it looks like face-lift time for the Radcliffe tennis team this year, as both the coaching and personnel will show signs of change when the women in white take to the courts this autumn.
To start with, Denise Thal has finally graduated. Radcliffe's outstanding tennis player for the last four years, Thal will attend Oxford this fall on a Rhodes Scholarship along with another former racquet queen, Lissa Muscatine.
Between Thal's commencement and her appearance on this month's cover of Women-sports magazine came change number two. Corey Wynn, who had directed the women's squad for the past year and a half, was relieved of his Radcliffe duties and shifted over to help out with the men's team. When this article went to press, a replacement for Wynn had not been named.
Nevertheless, Wynn, interested as ever, feels that the team will more than make up for Thal's departure with a combination of improved lettermen, promising freshmen and eager performers from last year's J.V. teams. "With the good girls coming in and the majority of the stronger players from last year, I definitely figure the team will be tougher this year," Wynn said.
Number one player, junior Sally Roberts from Greenwich, Conn., heads the field of returning starters, which includes Captain-elect Katie Ditzler (number three last year), Terry Clarke, injury-prone Diana Olney, Beth Craig and Patty Wen. J.V. standouts Perry Heffelfinger, Abby Greenbaum and Liz Livingstone saw occasional varsity court time last season, and should be ready to make the permanent jump this year.
Wynn, however, seems to be even more excited about the incoming freshmen than his veteran nucleus. Headlining the list of youngsters is Martha Roberts from Greenwich. If you've been reading this article carefully, you may have deduced that Martha is the younger sister of Sally, hence Wynn's enthusiasm.
Other freshmen who look "quite promising," according to Wynn, are Elizabeth Perpont from Darien, Conn., and Lisa Greco from Palm Beach, Fla.
Last year the racquetwomen enjoyed a successful fall but suffered once the flowers were in bloom. After sporting a 7-2 mark for September and October, Wynn point out that Radcliffe "couldn't get things together in the spring, and we wound up losing some close matches" for a 3-5 spring slate.
As for the upcoming season, reports that the racquetwomen would only play in one big tournament this fall, like the men's team, have for the moment been laid to rest. Radcliffe will play its usual full schedule of fall opponents, as well as state and regional tournaments. With luck, the women in white will turn their pre-season face-lift into an attractive package of victories.