WHERE ARE THEY NOW: FEATURING MAISIE SILVERMAN
James Maimonis, Communications and Engagement Coordinator | April 4, 2018
‘Where Are They Now’ is a monthly feature that highlights former New England junior players who have continued on to play NCAA tennis. We will be catching up with players currently competing at all NCAA levels across the country. Our April highlight is Maisie Silverman.
LEWISTON, ME- Maisie Silverman, of Brunswick, ME, is a senior captain at Bates College, where she is currently leading her Bobcats to a No. 28 national DIII ranking (at the time of writing). She is also one of five New England players on the team. Maisie has been playing tournaments since the age of 10 and is a former New England junior standout. She was recently named a finalist for the inaugural Ann Lebedeff ITA Leadership Award for her tremendous work on and off the court throughout her collegiate career.
USTA New England caught up with Maisie to find out a little more about how she became the star she is today.ADVERTISEMENT
What did it mean to you when you found out you were a finalist for the ITA Leadership Award, and why?
When I found out I was a finalist, I was both honored and proud. I am so grateful and appreciative that I was recognized as a leader both on and off the court, whether in academics, community service, or as captain of the Bates women’s varsity tennis team. Having been a USTA tournament player, a high school and college tennis player, and being a tennis fan who respects the history and tradition of tennis, I understand the ITA’s role and have a sense of the iconic figure Billie Jean King, as well as the positive impact that Ann Lebedeff had as coach of the Pomona-Pitzer colleges, so being nominated and then being named a finalist is very humbling.
What has tennis taught you that you’ve applied to your off-court service time?
Off court, I try to utilize many of the lessons I’ve learned and the habits I’ve developed as a competitive tennis player. I’m probably most proud of the work I’ve done with children and the Special Olympics because it enables me to share my love and enthusiasm for tennis. As programs like Tenacity have shown, tennis can also be much more than a sport; it can be an opportunity to improve people’s lives
How have you embraced the roles of captain and leader on this team?
It’s an honor to be captain of my incredible team. They are terrific tennis players but also competitive, smart, and caring girls. I’ve embraced the role and really tried to transform the team culture. This year, the primary goal of our season was to focus on how hard we compete rather than on outcome. If we step up and fight for every ball and compete, we are difficult to beat.
It is an amazing feeling to be both a leader and a team member. We are all encouraging of each other and want each other to succeed. Playing #1 one singles since sophomore year I feel like I have always been in a position of leadership, but this year exceptionally the dynamic is the best it's ever been and it’s such a great feeling to see all the love everyone has for each other. When we play, we aren’t playing for ourselves, but we're playing for each other.
The team has improved in each of the past three seasons, with this year being the best yet. In what ways are you getting better, and what is so special about this year’s team?
I think each year our team has improved with the help of our coach and our sports physiologist. Our coach Paul Gastonguay has really supported and promoted a culture that brings everyone together – challenging us to find a way to compete in every circumstance no matter the adversity we face. This year we have had to face the adversity of having two of our players in the top of our lineup injured and thus not being able to play in matches. However, all the girls have stepped up and embraced the challenge. During our matches, we have had instances where various matches are down, but from the energy and the support, we have been able to overcome the challenges and pull out the win. It is such a great feeling to see and experience the joy our team has together when competing and winning together. This year’s season has the best record from all my years at Bates, and it is exciting that we still have many more matches to come!
You earned All-Conference Academic honors last season. How important was that award to you?
I’m proud of earning All-Academic Conference team honors. I pride myself on being a good student and work hard. Bates has a rigorous curriculum, and it’s a great honor being all academic. Not only have I been all academic, but I’ve also been named to the Dean's List for my grades every semester since sophomore year.
Has it been difficult to stay focused on your education and continue to maintain academic success while also performing on the court?
I have always tried to be a scholar/athlete. In addition, I try my best to be a good person and give back to the community — whether that be doing various fundraisers as Vice Chair of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, or helping volunteer at food shelters or the Special Olympics. Academics have always been important to me. In both high school and at Bates, I put the same focus into my school work that has helped me succeed in tennis. My belief is some of the skills required for athletics lend themselves well to other areas of one's life. Time management, goal setting, working on weaknesses, and practice all can pay off. I pride myself to be not only a leader, but also a team player.
What are your post-college plans, and how much do you foresee tennis still being a part of your life?
I just accepted an offer at a tech startup in New York City! So, I will be moving to New York and officially starting in August. Before then I hope to teach tennis in the Hamptons. Tennis has been such an influential part of my life, and I know even post graduation I will continue to play, and hopefully, once I have children, I’ll have my them play as well.
What are your best memories from playing USTA New England tournaments?
Several tournaments stand out to me. One memorable tournament was once, I was playing on Nantucket, but we were going to stay with a friend on Martha’s Vineyard. I managed to win the finals in straight sets just fast enough to enable us to barely make the last ferry of the day.
The other memory that stands out is when Mike Hill and I were finalists in mixed doubles in a national open tournament on the grass at Newport. I grew up playing on grass at Longwood Cricket Club, so having that experience playing on grass made me feel connected to my roots, and winning a Silver Ball made it extremely memorable.
Winning states for Maine as an individual and with our high school team are also great memories from my pre-college tennis days.
How important were junior tournaments in your development as a player?
My sense is playing tennis in USTA tournaments was very important for my development as a player. The camaraderie and competition were both helpful and fun. I will always remember the trips I had with my dad to different tournaments around New England. We often drove in an old convertible making the travel fun, and we picked tournaments in part based on their locations.
For more on Maisie and her team, visit the Bates Women’s Tennis homepage.