A New England Women's 8 (NEW 8) Women's Tennis All-Conference selection in singles and doubles in both 1990 and 1991, Lia Galanis Economou '94 helped the Blue to NEW 8 Tournament titles in both 1990 and 1991 and was selected as the NEW 8 Women's Tennis Athlete of the Year in 1991. Wellesley posted records of 18-4 and 15-3 during Galanis' first two years with the team, earning an invite to the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis National Championships in 1991. Galanis earned an individual selection to the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis National Championships in 1992 after winning the Rolex Intercollegiate Northeast Division III Championship and ranking as high as No. 5 in doubles and No. 9 in singles. A three-time All-Seven Sisters selection, Galanis helped guide the Blue to the Seven Sisters title in 1992, the same year she was named Wellesley's Sophomore Athlete of the Year.
Certain moments in your life are game changers. A big game changer for me was visiting Wellesley. An alum said I HAD to see it, but I was skeptical. Then I walked on campus, saw the blooming landscape and glistening lake, met the tennis coach, Joanne Paul, who assured me I could compete while keeping academics my priority. Music to my parents’ ears! Getting accepted was one of the happiest days of my life.
My second game changer was joining the team. To get a top spot, I had to beat a senior, Alexa Magna. Well, I won. Alexa said, “Good match. Let’s go to the lake.” Okay, I thought and followed her. Then she said, “Let’s jump in.” I looked at her in disbelief. But it was a really hot day and I felt kind of guilty for winning, so we counted to three, jumped off the dock, clothes on and all. Afterwards, she said with a smile, “Welcome to the team.” In that moment I learned grace in competition, and the beginning bonds of sisterhood.
My third game changer was playing with my amazing doubles partners, Mindy Fountain and Tina Suk, both of whom I played with at Nationals. One particular moment stands out: Tina and I were at the National Rolex Championships in Texas. Unfortunately they had historic snow flurries. I was so cold and nervous that I started to hyperventilate. With a fierce high five, Tina said “We are going to win. I want that bowl!”, referring to the championship bowl, unfortunately not a Rolex, but still a worthy trophy. Tina covered the court like a woman possessed. When I see that bowl in my office, I am reminded of the value of teamwork and pure grit.
My final game changer was making the difficult decision to take my Junior year off of tennis, and experience a different part of college life. I became President of the Hellenic Club and joined Phi Sigma Society. I had a blast with more amazing women, had more time to spend with close friends like Melissa Shaw and my former roommate, Ann Kim, and formed new friendships I still have today. I learned that change can be good.
Turns out my entire Wellesley experience was a game changer.