Weston alumnae Samson makes Fairfield University's lineup
A graduate of Weston in June, Samson knows a lot about winning after winning four SWC and four Class S titles. She is confident that she can maintain her excellence for the Division I Lady Stags.
"It feels really great to be playing for a D-I tennis team at Fairfield U," Samson wrote in an e-mail. "It's very exciting. I have talented teammates and an experienced coach so I expect that we are going to have a very successful season. Hopefully winning the MAAC title, and making it to the NCAA tournament. The intensity is a lot greater than what I have ever experienced before but I am determined to rise to the occasion."
"I see a very talented athlete," Paige said. "She has a great tennis body and is extremely athletic. She has a lot of potential and a lot is up to her."
Samson compiled a 4-3 record in singles and 2-3 in doubles this fall. She's hoping that this experience will help her in the spring where everything counts.
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For the Lady Trojans, Samson excelled at singles and doubles, earning First Team All-SWC all four years and First Team All-State junior year when she won the State Open doubles title. She played at second doubles freshman year, second singles as a sophomore before closing out her career at first doubles the last two year.
Growing up, Samson preferred singles because she had experience there. After learning how to play doubles, she became experienced there as well, and she hopes her versatility will help her at Fairfield.
"When I started playing doubles in high school, I began to appreciate the doubles game," Samson said. "Doubles requires a great deal of communication with your partner as well as chemistry between you and your partner. I felt that I had great chemistry with all three of my doubles partners at on the Weston team and I hope to find that with someone here at Fairfield U."
One thing that will help Samson as a Lady Stag is that she's strong throughout the court. She hits powerful ground strokes and get to many tough balls from the baseline. At the net, she slammed home many overhead forehand shots for winners.
Although Samson is stellar in both facets, she feels there's room for improvement at the net. In choosing between the baseline and net, the selection wasn't difficult for her.
"I have always considered myself to be a better baseline player because I feel that my baseline game is stronger than my net game," Samson said. "I hope to strengthen my net game while I am at Fairfield."
She added, "I am successful from the baseline when I am moving my feet. When I am flat-footed at the baseline, my strokes tend to deteriorate. As long as I am on the balls of my feet, my baseline game comes together and I am a very strong competitor."
Samson also possesses a consistent serve, which will also enhance her game at Fairfield.
"I feel that it is very important to have good placement when it comes to my serve," Samson said. "With a well placed serve, you can throw your opponent either off balance or break down a specific stroke of theirs."
Having parents who are big tennis fans led to Samson trying the game at an early age. She began playing competitively at age 12.
"It's always been fun and a great stress reliever for me," Samson said.
Leadership is a strength of hers as Samson was voted to serve the Lady Trojans as captain. She led by example through her work ethic and verbally by encouraging her teammates.
"I really enjoyed being captain at Weston with Aly Ashmore," Samson said. "I felt that we were able to bring the team together in ways that we hadn't come together before and we created a special bond amongst our teammates."
Throughout high school, Samson took AP and honors courses. Math is her favorite subject.
"Balancing my academics with my athletics has never been a problem for me," Samson said. "When I know I have to get something done, I get it done. It's all about managing your time."
One thing Samson is resolute about is becoming the best tennis player she can. With the competition being tougher, she knows she needs to raise her game to the next level in order to thrive as a Lady Stag.
"The key to raising my game to the next level would be to work on my fitness and my mental game," Samson said. "I know that at Fairfield U I will be able to work on these aspects of my tennis game and eventually find greater success on the court in the future. I hope to gain more body strength and become a more mentally tough competitor."
Paige said, "Two things she needs to do to improve, make less unforced errors and have more approach shots and come to net. She's a very gifted athlete and it's a matter of how much she buys into the program and allows us to coach her. She takes coaching really well and is a good kid. She'll definitely be able to help us. Emma needs to know how good she is."