- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
At Queensborough she was directed from one office to the next. "And the last lady held my hand and took me into the last office," says Boucher.
Boucher's first classes were remedial: reading, arithmetic and composition. "I felt like a five-year-old," she says. "I couldn't believe I was in college. I thought I was the only person who had started from scratch."
She considered going out for the tennis team but was reluctant because she thought that her studies required her complete attention. But Boucher respected the coach. She, too, had gone to school and taken up tennis late in life. Her name was Camille Bodden.
Boucher joined the Queensborough team and was soon named captain. Undefeated at No. 1 singles and doubles, her record was 9-0 in the fall of 1987. The athletic director encouraged Boucher to pursue other sports. "I needed the sports to clear my head so that I could think," says Boucher. So she played basketball in the winter and Softball in the spring.
However, when the academics became more demanding, she took a break from athletics in her second year. That's when she stumbled upon psychology. "I loved the name, the word, psychology, even before I knew what it was," she says.
In her third year at Queensborough, a little more confident in her academic abilities, Boucher returned to the tennis team. She was undefeated at No. 1 singles and doubles until the final match of the season. Up 5-0, 40-0, she raced to reach a shot and broke her ankle. The pins and screws ended her athletic career at Queensborough, but she continued to collect sports awards, including MVP of the tennis team, Outstanding Female Athlete in the school and Queensborough Student/Athlete. But she was most proud of her 3.2 grade point average.
The injury provided Boucher with another reflective interlude. She decided to leave the distractions of the city to attend a four-year college—somewhere peaceful, preferably—where she could study psychology. She learned about Alfred at a college recruiting day at Queensborough. That's how she came to this picturesque college of 2,000 students, situated between the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains and the Finger Lakes region. Boucher has brought a modicum of success to a Division III team that might otherwise have had none. The year before Boucher arrived, only four players showed up for tryouts, and the tennis season was scrapped. Her 3-4 singles record for the 1990 season helped the reconstituted team to a 3-4 record. This fall she was 9-1 in singles, and the team was undefeated—a first—with a 6-0-1 record.
While the women's team competes only in the fall, the men have a spring season as well, and they welcome Boucher to their practice sessions. "There's a big drop-off after Number One on the women's team," says Darren Stohr, who was Alfred's top men's player last season and often played with Boucher before he graduated. "I'm probably the only player on either team who was competitive with her, and I think she took every set we played. She's a very smart and consistent player. She works for every ball."
"When I started," says Boucher, "someone asked, 'How do you win? You don't have a backhand, a forehand, a volley, a net game, an overhead or a serve. How do you win?' "
Boucher has developed a little of everything: a dependable slice backhand, a hard, accurate serve and a strong, flat crosscourt forehand that results in the occasional winner. Most of all, her desire and her smarts enable her to outrun and outwit her younger opponents. "I just try to return the ball one more time over the net," says Boucher, "and I try to put the ball where the other person is not."