Feb. 7, 2013
Senior co-captain Alex Kelleher has played in over 60 career dual matches and 90 matches in tournament play during her four-year career at Boston College. She sat down with BCEagles.com to discuss her time at BC, this year's team, and the upcoming ECAC Championships.
You have played a lot of tennis for BC over your four-year career. What kind of perspective have you picked up along the way, and what do you know now that you might not have known as a freshman?
I think as a freshman you are a little bit overwhelmed with all the competition especially with the ACC you get some of the best players in the country. I think after having four years of it - even though you're always nervous before matches - you learn that these players are the same as you. You work just as hard as them, and you always try to work harder. I think having a team like this that comes to practice every day ready to work, it gets you prepared for the matches. You just have to go in knowing that you've put in the time and that you're ready to play.
This season, you are one of two captains on the team. What does it mean to you to be a captain, and how do you try to fill that role?
For me, it's a huge honor. I'm thrilled to be a co-captain with Ina Kauppila. I think we work really well together. I think we both have the same kind of drive as to how we want to work on the court and what type of example we want to set for the freshmen and sophomores. I look at it as an honor, and I try to learn from it as much as I can too. We have really great coaches and great teammates so I just try to pick up on the qualities that they have and build off those.
What sort of thoughts and emotions do you have knowing that this is your last season as an Eagle?
It's really bitter sweet. It's been a long four years, and - like you said - I've played a lot of tennis here, but I don't think that I'm really necessarily ready to stop playing either. Hopefully I'll play a little bit this summer. It's been a great four years. I think it's nice to know that I've put in all the hard work that I have to be able to move on and get ready for the next stage.
Originally, you are from Worcester, Mass. What has it meant to you to be able to play close to home as a collegiate player?
For me it was huge because I'm really close to my family. Knowing that they could come out and watch pretty much all the matches has been great. My mom comes to every match, and my dad tries to come as many as he can. My sister will come to a lot of matches with my parents. It's really nice for them to be able to see me do well at such a great school. I think they're just as excited to watch every match and to watch the team develop too. It's almost like they think of the girls as a family too. It's nice, we've kind of grown up as a team together the last four years. It's really nice to see how a team grows and changes.
The team is off to a 3-0 start this season. What has been working well so far for the team to have success?
I think team dynamics this year are just awesome. Everyone gets along really well, and everybody brings 100 percent to every practice which is something that I think is really important if we want to compete. We've had one ACC match, but we have 10 more so we're going to have to keep up that same level. I think for us knowing that our coaches come every day and give 100 percent, we as players want to come every day and give 100 percent so we're ready for the next match.
This year's team features four seniors, two sophomores, and four freshmen. How have the factors of experience and youth balanced themselves out so far this year?
I think it has been a nice balance. We don't have any juniors, but it's nice to have four seniors. It's nice to have that seniority, and we've all played a lot of tennis. If the younger girls have questions or a little bit of uncertainty, we can guide them - whether it's about getting the right amount of sleep or finding time to get their school work done. It's nice to have those kinds of people to ask questions. It also keeps us on our toes with the younger girls who have a lot of energy. We have to keep up with them a lot. It's fun. It's a really good balance - we all get along really well.
The ACC has six teams ranked in the Top 25 nationally. What do you try to focus on to prepare for that level of competition?
I think just knowing that they are going to put in 100 percent every practice, it motivates us to put in 100 percent every practice. Off the court - in rehab, stretch, lift - we know we have to put in 100 percent. All the little extra things - those add up especially - when you're playing against Top 25 teams in the country. You have to do the little things well, and I think that's something we've tried to focus on more this year. We've put an emphasis on team chemistry and making sure that everything we need to do gets done before those matches.
This weekend, the team will compete at the ECAC Championships after finishing in third at the event last year. What are your hopes expectations heading into the tournament?
I think are expectations are that we have to take care of every match we're playing in at the moment. It doesn't matter who we're playing whether it's Yale, who is the top seed, or one of the lower seeds. They're all good teams, and they're all going to present different challenges. Coach always says `expect the unexpected' so I think we're going to have to be able to adjust and re-evaluate our games depending on who we're playing. Our expectations are always high because we put in such effort during the week. We have a lot to live up to, but it's just based on what we expect ourselves.