Bryn Mawr – It may not be easy for most players to go from participating to cheerleading in a matter of minutes but for Baldwin School senior tennis co-captain Alexa Bartels, the transition is quite natural.
After posting her team’s first point in what would become Baldwin’s first Inter-Ac loss against host Penn Charter Tuesday, Bartels accepted congratulations for her 6-1, 6-3 win at second doubles with partner Alexis Schatzman before quickly turning her attention to her teammates.
“I quickly realized after my partner and I won our match it was one point and we still needed three more points to win the match,” said Bartels. “I almost immediately switched my mojo from player to team captain. As one of the team captains, I pump the team up and act as a support system. As much as I wanted to win my match – which I did – I wanted the team to win more.”
“Alexa Bartels exemplifies what a captain of a tennis team should be: supportive, unselfish and interested in the team more than herself,” said Baldwin head coach Jeff Sacks. Although Bartels gave all the support she could to the remaining five matches on the court, it was not enough as the Quakers earned the 5-2 win over the Polar Bears, thus gaining the inside track to the Inter-Ac crown with two matches remaining.
“I thought the team brought it together today,” said Baldwin junior Francesca Douglas, who won her match at No. 3 singles. “The captains did a great job of pumping us up. Personally I played well but I am upset about the team loss. We can definitely learn from this.”
While Baldwin no longer controls its own destiny, it still has an opportunity to earn a share of the title if the Polar Bears win their final two matches and Penn Charter falters in one of their two remaining matches.
“We have to be realistic,” Bartels said. “While we realize Penn Charter has to lose, we have to focus on winning our matches against Germantown Academy and Springside Chestnut Hill, which will not be easy. We have to regroup and turn our focus to our remaining matches.”
Baldwin has plenty to proud of this season, showing improvement from last year’s 3-3 league finish, along with gaining wins over Academy of Notre Dame, Agnes Irwin and Episcopal Academy, all teams Baldwin lost to a year ago.
Leading the turnaround has been the senior leadership of Emma Sass, Ari Hairston and Bartels, who have done a great job of bringing the team together as one in a sport often viewed as individualistic.
“The captains have done a great job this year of circling us up prior to matches and giving us great advice – they have kept us going all season and are a big reason for our team success,” said Douglas, who returned after spending last year studying abroad in Belgium. “This year has been so much fun. We are like a family and I missed that last year when I was away. I am so glad to be back.”
Sacks added, “This year’s team has given me their very best and I am proud to be their coach.”