2000 MVP Award goes to deserving leader - Amy Boley

By John Wagner, The Toledo Blade
January 4, 2001

Ever hear of a player who didn't win a single match all season - and was voted her team's Most Valuable Player?

If not, then meet Amy Boley.

It's true: Boley didn't win a single match in either singles or doubles for the Bluffton College women's team this past season. And she was named the team's MVP.

What's more, Boley deserved the honor.

The award was a confirmation that the Perrysburg native, who played first singles and first doubles this past season, was a valuable member of the team. It also was an affirmation that Boley's hard work and dedication to tennis had made her the team's best player.

It was a long struggle to the top spot on the Beaver's tennis squad - and it was even longer when you consider Boley did not even plan to play tennis when she enrolled at Bluffton.

"I had played two years of tennis [at Clay High School], and I loved playing, but I did not go out for tennis [at Bluffton], "Boley explained. "I thought I would not be good enough. I was not the best player on my high school team."

"But five members of the varsity lived near my dorm room, and they talked me into it. They said, 'just come out and have fun with the team."'

Boley did, playing sixth singles as a freshman and posting a 2-2 record. By her junior year she had moved up to third singles and was fairly competitive.

But entering this, her senior season, Boley knew she would have to be more than just competitive. "I realized all the seniors were leaving, and so I would have to be a leader," she said. "I knew I could not lead if I was struggling at fifth or sixth singles, so over the summer I took guided lessons. I worked hard in the summer and tried to improve my game."

Boley was improved - but so too was her competition. "Playing first singles is a completely different game," she said. "When I played fourth, fifth, or sixth [singles], all I needed to do was keep [the ball] in the court and wait for my opponents to make a mistake. At No. 1 the players are more powerful and more skilled. If you are not hitting the ball hard and not hitting the lines, those players will whale on you."

So Boley gave first singles her best shot. She went winless in 11 matches but knew she was a better player than when she first came to Bluffton. "I did not win a single game, but the games went to deuce most of the time," she said. "I felt it was my best season. I knew I was going up against the other team's best player."

Boley knew she had sacrificed her chance for a winning record in order to lead her team. "I would have loved to play third singles and have a shot to win every match," she said. "I really did not want to play first singles; I wanted to be able to compete and to win every match. But I had to be a leader, and playing first singles was what I needed to do."

And that made Amy Boley an MVP.

The Blade
Toledo, Ohio