On Saturday, April 19, four Arizona women’s tennis seniors will take the court at Robson Tennis Center for the last time. Lacey Smyth, Kim Stubbe and Susan Mc Rann will wrap up four years with the team, while Akilah James will conclude two after transferring from South Carolina State in 2012.
In the last few years, these seniors have been a part of building a legacy at Arizona. They have compiled a 56-35 record in four seasons, including an impressive 41-6 mark at Robson.
They have been invited to the NCAA Tournament twice, with one of their best finishes in history in 2012.
Despite their success on the court, the players are most thankful for their memories with each other. The following is a compilation of each senior’s first impressions, memories and triumphs.
When I first got to the U of A, my parents dropped Susie and me off at the dorms and we had to stay there for a week. I was really nervous, because I didn’t really know Susie that well yet and my English wasn’t that great. She said something and I just kept repeating her because I didn’t understand what she was saying.
She was my roommate freshman year and I remember her arriving. I came to college with one suitcase, so my side in our dorm room was pretty clean and empty. But when Lacey arrived, she came with two giant trucks. She had a lot of stuff. I came down when she got there, introduced myself and helped her move in. As soon as her parents left, our room looked completely different with all of her stuff.
When Kiki came in, we had all been there two years already, because she was a transfer. She didn’t know where everything was, what to wear, the schedule, etc. She always texted me with questions. And then one day, she said, ‘Kim, what do you think of me?’ And I thought, ‘Wow, I really like this girl! She has guts to just come out and ask an opinion like that!’ Since then, I’ve really just liked her honesty. That’s the relationship we created and why we’ve become so close.
Lacey had a phone and we were roommates. She set her alarm for 6:15 p.m. instead of 6:15 a.m. before the first morning of practice. That morning, we were sleeping and heard a knock on the door and had no idea who it was. It was Susan knocking and she was like, ‘guys, guys, we have to go to practice!’ and we got up in a hurry and got dressed as fast as possible—I didn’t even have time to put my contacts in. We were biking on the mall like crazy, sweating and so scared. We walked on the court right at 7 a.m., with our heads down, we were so scared because we were freshmen and it was our first impression. But nobody knew! I will never forget that.
Susan Mc Rann
I think the first time I met Lacey was in Vicky’s office. Lacey’s mom and dad were there as well and Kim and I walked in. She was so quiet, she didn’t say a word and we ran in laughing and giggling and everything. I think she thought we were crazy. In our first practice, the three of us played on court two. I don’t know why I remember that.
When I arrived in Tucson, I was expecting Vicky to pick me up and I walked down to the area where people pick you up. Kim and her whole family were there as well. At this point, she wasn’t too confident with her English yet. So we get into the car and Kim got into the back seat with her mom. Vicky was talking and telling Kim to speak in English to me. So she is laughing and asked me, ‘Do you want a bottle of water?’ because that’s the only thing she knew how to say. It was really funny when they were talking in Dutch, because I had no idea what was going on.
I met Kiki on her recruiting trip. I hit with her and she didn’t want to stop talking—she hasn’t changed a bit. I was trying to play with her and then we would take a break and literally we would break for 15 or 20 minutes because she wouldn’t stop talking! Finally I was like, ‘Ok, come on, we really need to try and play here.’ But that is definitely my first memory of Kiki.
She was my roommate my freshman year, so we have a ton of memories. My first memory was of her waiting on the street to meet me over by where the residence halls were. We had never met each other before and we were going to be living together for the next year, so it was a pretty big moment. I just remember her wearing a green dress. She was actually a little shy because she didn’t know too much English yet. I just remember her laughing at everything I said and bringing my stuff in, because I had WAY too much stuff, and just seeing the look on her face.
We were in the dorms together freshman year also. I met her and her sister at the same time. I remember trying to get used to her thick Irish accent, I couldn’t always understand what she was saying. Immediately, I knew she was really sweet and I was going to enjoy being around her.
My first impression of her was when she came to Meet the Team and didn’t have any equipment with her and she went out to practice with her All-Star Converse shoes. She wasn’t exactly prepared, but I could tell she was a very outgoing individual and I was very interested to get to know her better.
Everyone always talks about this one practice we had last fall. Everyone refers to it as “That Tuesday” and it was just bad. Vicky (Maes) wasn’t too happy with us that day and was having us run sprints at the end of practice. Kim and I had foot problems, so we were stuck doing the plank. I just remember everyone was dying and she kept going and going. People were in tears and in so much pain, it was a very emotional day. We all laugh about it now.
Susie is my sister. When she has attitude, I have attitude. She has helped me be more mellow and just be me all the time, no matter the situation, no matter the circumstance. She reminds me that she is always there for me. Whenever I would talk to Susie I would say, ‘Ok, bye, I love you.’ And she would just say, ‘Ok, bye.’ And then when she started saying, ‘Ok, bye, I love you’ I couldn’t believe it. She’s amazing.
When I first met Lacey, she was so serious and so focused that I just knew there was something deeper and I always wanted to know more. She always had that cover and I said, ‘you’re going to take down that cover when you meet me.’ And now, Lacey and I have gotten really close and I’ve learned she is a great person.
Kim and I just connect. What drew me to her is she wears all of her emotions. If there is a second life, she is probably me. Kim and I love to dance, we go out and have a good time. We don’t really care who is looking. I know a lot of things about Kim because we are so similar.
Team Trip to Hawaii
When we went to Hawaii, it was raining. I’m talking raining all the time, constantly. And the coaches would not give up on trying to get us playing. They were squeegeeing until kingdom come. They thought for sure the rain would stop. And every time they got done squeegeeing, the rain would start again 10 minutes later. But they wouldn’t give up—we were at the courts for like 10 hours, no lie. That stuck out to me, because we all just went to the vans and blasted music and pumped the air conditioning. That is something I laugh about.