Cantor's NCAA Banter: Day 3

Every day during the Quinnipiac women's tennis team's trip to the NCAA Tournament in Los Angeles, Calif., sophomore Rachel Cantor will keep you up to date on the team's activities.

Day Three: THE BIG DAY: QU vs. #6 UCLA.

Today, WE BEAT UCLA...just kidding!!! Well, after a great night's rest we all had a great breakfast this morning at around 8:30. I had an egg white omelet with a side of delicious fresh fruit and a nice cup of coffee. We had to be in the lobby by 9:30 a.m. so that we could be at the courts to practice by 10. It was one of the more silent bus rides we've had, while the girls were listening to their music, getting pumped up for the match. We got to the practice courts at around 9:50. We did our usual running and dynamic stretching before we got to hit. After we were done running and stretching, we hit from 10:15 to 11:15. Everyone looked great and got a solid warm up in. We went over to the main site where UNLV (University of Nevada Las Vegas) was playing USD (University of San Diego). We were next match on after UNLV and UCSD. We were able to access UCLA's hospitality room while we were waiting to go on court, where they offered us bananas, granola bars, bagels and drinks. We all hung out for a bit, just sitting on the couches, listening to our iPods and talking.

At approximately 12:30 p.m., we got on the courts, ready to leave it all out there and give it our all. The atmosphere of the tennis center was remarkable. Even though UCLA's fans outnumbered our fans, the ambiance was awesome. Sarah and Julie took the court, playing number one doubles as Adrienne and I played two doubles and at three doubles was Lavinia and Lisanne. It is safe to say that this was one of the best doubles matches we have played this year. We worked so hard to get to this point and it definitely showed today. Julie and Sarah went up to lead 3-1 before losing in a tight match 8-3. The score definitely didn't reflect how they played. They went out determined as ever and with no expectations. They both played great doubles, as this was a memorable way to end the season. Adrienne and I haven't had the most successful year as far as doubles go, but that doesn't mean we didn't have fun. Coach Q refers to us as more a singles team than doubles team, and for Adrienne and I, that is absolutely true. But today we proved that we have potential to become a great doubles team. Except there is one problem...Adrienne is graduating in about a week and a half. We fought hard today, losing 8-3 to the No. 24 doubles team in the country. Lisanne and Lavinia have also had a great season together. They fought hard today, even though their overall score did not reflect how they played. They went down, 8-1, but they both showed great skill and talent today. Once doubles was over, we all walked off the court with our heads up high with a sense of success in how well we played; but there was still a lot of work that needed to be done.

Between singles and doubles we received a 10-minute break. During the break we got together for a meeting with Q and Paula. We all believed that we were capable of hanging with one of the top teams in the country. Everybody was ready to do work, trying to leave a mark. We were all fired up, trying to prove something to our opponents and ourselves.

The singles matches were great...I got smoked 6-0, 6-1 in about 20 minutes. Just kidding... it took more time than that, but it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, something that I will always remember. To play a top player in the country is something that doesn't happen very often for us. We all played well and fought our hardest. Sarah was trailing 6-2, 4-3, at No.4 singles when the match was stopped. Julie was making her mark as she was leading 3-2 in the second when the match was halted. Adrienne also picked up two games before losing in a tough match 6-1, 6-1. We left the courts feeling accomplished. We knew that there was nothing else we could have done. UCLA came out on top, proving to us that they are No. 6 in the country for a reason. These girls played great tennis today and we wish them the best of luck in the rest of the tournament!! Q and Paula were very pleased with the way we played today. We were proud to be here and proud to play such a prestigious team in UCLA.

After the match, we headed back to the hotel. We got back around 4:30 and had until 6:00 to get ready for dinner. We had a great casual dinner at Marmalade Café, which was in Malibu. They had anything you could ever want between Mexican food, American food, Italian food and delicious seafood. If you really want to know what I had, I will tell you. To start out, Sarah, Adrienne and I shared chicken quesadillas, which were unbelievable! For dinner, I had a chicken teriyaki salad, which was delicious. Seeing as though we didn't get back from the match till 4:30, we weren't able to do any more shopping because by the time we got to Malibu all the stores were closed.

Once we got back to the hotel, everyone went into their rooms to watch TV and pass out. As we speak, Adrienne is currently sleep talking. Anyways, today was a very memorable day for us Bobcats and I know that we wouldn't have made it here without Q's and Paula's never ending support. They have had so much faith in all of us and with all their help and hard work, we have accomplished our goals this season.

The team would like to give Adrienne, Beth and Lisanne a special shout out. To our seniors, thank you so much for everything you have done for us. The memories that we have made will last a lifetime and we will forever cherish them. You girls all left such a special place in our hearts and please promise that you will come back to visit! Good luck in the future, as we know you will be so successful with whatever path you decide to follow. We couldn't have asked for better seniors!