Playing on the women’s tennis team for three years is definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made at Albertus Magnus College. The team was very welcoming. My first year playing I did not know anything about tennis, but I was really eager to learn how to play. Over the years, my tennis skills improved, and my tennis team became like family to me. This year especially, the women’s tennis team has been closer than ever. We actually had a regular season game at the United States National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, best known as the sight of the U.S. Open, against Vaughn College Warriors.
US National Tennis Center (Flushing, NY) US Tennis Center
The bus ride to New York was a lot of fun. We got stuck in traffic crossing the bridge over to Queens, and we made the best of it; we even started waving at people in random cars, showing them our rackets so that they knew we were tennis players. I believe this bus ride was where it all began, where we as a team became one. Most of the girls on the team are from New York, so we made sure our families came out to support each other. Together as a team, we got a WIN! It was one of the most exciting moments for all of us. This is because we won at the US Open! We felt like real professional tennis players.
Shortly following this win, we all decided to spend a weekend together. Girls on the team who did not live on campus stayed in some of the girls’ rooms. We decided that Sansbury hall was the tennis hall for this weekend because four out of the ten live there. We went downtown to go out to eat. We even baked cupcakes together. Each and every member on the team is completely different.
For example, our number one in singles is Zaida Velazco from the Dominican Republic. She is an amazing tennis player and one of the most dedicated individuals on the team. Unfortunately, Zaida’s serves are so powerful that at the end of a match she pulled a muscle in her right arm, being unable to play tennis for a week. As a team we all pulled together and looked out for her, making sure she was taken care of. Another new asset to our team is Ivah Soares, a very competitive individual who has great leadership skills in terms of leading the team warm-ups. Ivah is a senior, but this is actually her first year playing and each and every day under the leadership of Coach Bob and the girls, you see her improve. But, the best improvement story is Malika Grant. She started playing three years ago and had never picked up a tennis racket in her life. Now, three years later, she is playing number one doubles and three singles. It is through these great personal accomplishments combined as a team that we were able to make it to the GNAC playoffs this year for the first time since 2007.
As a senior, I graduate this year and will forever be grateful for being captain of this team. I always knew I had good leadership skills, but this team is proof! I will always thank Coach Bob for not only believing in me to lead the team but for everything I know about tennis. Just like Coach Bob always tells us: “Tennis is a lifetime sport, you can play for years.” Love is nothing in tennis, but on this team it’s everything.
Written By: Sharinna Luna
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.
High School: Community School for Social Justice
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