McAndrew, Schneider headed to Bucknell
Two girls from one town going to a Division 1 college tennis program in the same year sounds like a story for a movie.
Ludlowe and Warde's top-girls tennis players for each of the last two seasons are now ganging up on the same side. McAndrew and Schneider are headed to Bucknell University to play for the Bison in 2012.
"I'm really excited," Warde's grad Schneider said. "I feel I'm up for it."
"I'm loving everything about it right now," McAndrew said.
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Schneider loves the idea of Bucknell as a university and fell in love with the program when she stepped on its campus.
"I was looking at smaller schools in the beginning," she said. "But I came here for an overnight and I knew I wanted to go to Bucknell."
For McAndrew, going to college in Lewisburg, Pa. is just part of the legacy of being a McAndrew.
"My parents went to Bucknell and met there, and my aunt and uncle went to Bucknell and met there," she said.
McAndrew and Schneider engaged in a fierce rivalry in high school, which Schneider got the better of until this past season. Warde's top-player beat Ludlowe's the first three times they met until the 2011 FCIAC quarterfinals where McAndrew was victorious in the deciding match of the Falcons' 4-3 win over the Mustangs.
"It was a friendly competition," Schneider said. "We played some really great matches."
But that high school rivalry is over now, and McAndrew and Schneider each get the opportunity to play on the same team for the first time ever.
"I'm looking forward to finally being able to play with her," McAndrew said.
Each girl has a distinct skill, according to Bucknell head coach Rebecca Helt, that will help her get on the court fast. For Schneider it revolves around a strong work ethic and strength.
"Christie's assets are her power, consistency and desire to work," Helt said. "It will be easy to build her game with those three assets."
McAndrew's assets are similar and Helt sees some huge potential as she transitions from high school to college tennis.
"Alyssa is very athletic," Helt said. "She has a lot of potential to be a top player in the Patriot League."
Both girls realize the excitement of being Division 1 tennis players, but also realize what goes into playing at the top level in college.
"Not everyone gets this opportunity," McAndrew said. "There are new opportunities for my game to improve."
"It's exciting but a little scary," Schneider said.
For Helt, the ability to nab two of the best players on two of the best programs in Connecticut adds to the excitement of the 2012 campaign where youth will be the norm. Bucknell has seven incoming freshmen for its women's program, and just two seniors.
"It's a huge win for Bucknell," Helt said of getting McAndrew and Schneider. "We feel fortunate to have them here."
Schneider and McAndrew have similar goals that are based mostly around getting on the court in matches, even in doubles, where neither played during high school tennis.
"I love doubles, I've played there a lot in my junior career," McAndrew said. "Any playing time is a bonus."
"I'm trying to work hard and see where I can play," Schneider said.
But what about the possibility of the Ludlowe and Warde girls to not only be teammates, but doubles partners?
"Maybe we'll get to play doubles together," Schneider said. "That'd be a lot of fun."
"I'm not sure what our coaches have planned," she said. "It would be kind of funny if we did."