For five straight years Bellevue College has been an overwhelming presence on the tennis court. The Lady Bulldogs wrapped up their fifth straight NWAACC Championship on May 17, and did so with style, racking up 33 points over their closest competition, Green River Community College. The competition at the Spokane Falls Community College tennis courts didn’t stand a chance against the defending champs. The Bellevue College women’s tennis team has now gone four straight years and 59 competitions without losing a match. The last time the team lost was in April 2004.
“Not only does the title solidify the fact that our team is strong physically in comparison to the other teams, but it also shows that our confidence about the title was never cocky” said Dorine Rassaian.
Bellevue locked up the second through sixth top singles spots with wins from Kelsey Mickels, Stephanie Tom, Stella Dwifaradewi, Lauren Heino, and Estee Kaskes. Each match was settled in only two sets.
Mickels was able to shut the door on Angela Alba of Green River after winning the first set by three. Dwifaradewi nearly locked up a shutout in singles play, winning with a combined score of 12-1. Heino was especially dominant, shutting out her opponent from Treasure Valley in both sets. Kaskes nearly duplicated Heino’s feat, but allowed a point to her opponent, winning 6-0 and 6-1.
“The win felt amazing!”Kaskes said. “We worked so hard and long for this title and we deserved it.”
In doubles play, the pairing of Rika Matsumoto and Heino overcame Treasure Valley in a close three set match, while Hannah Jordt and Dwifaradewi paired to down Green River in two sets.
“I’m just incredibly proud of every single one of the girls,” said Jordt. “Every single person contributed so much to our success this year. We all worked so hard for this and I feel so lucky to be part of such an amazing team.
Despite the lengthy winning streak and string of championships, the team is staying grounded.
“It is a lie if I say that we don’t want to win the championships or keep our undefeated streaks going, but I feel that the most important thing is that we have tried our best and we had fun together throughout the season,” said Janet Adisuwono.
Now that the tournament is under their belt, the Lady Bulldogs have 2010 to look forward to. With Bellevue College bringing home NWAACC championships each of the last five years, the Bulldogs will again be a favorite next year, with Coach of the Year Jason Chapman, as well as a number of current players, expected to return.
“Our win couldn’t have been sweeter. The team worked together and bonded so much. It’ll be hard to match the dedication and friendships from this season” said Vanessa Estes.
However, even a casual observer doesn’t have to look hard to find other reasons why this team is able to stay consistently on top.
“The difference between us and other schools is our spirit and pride for the Bellevue Bulldogs” Kaskes said. “We are constantly supporting other teammates whether we were playing on the court or just watching someone’s match. I would be playing tennis and hear ‘let’s go bulldogs’ from someone, and there would be 3 of us also playing and we would all respond back with a ‘go Bellevue’ or a Bulldog ‘woof’”.
While some of the team’s players won’t be around next year, everyone is staying upbeat and remembering the good times.