USTA Section: Middle States
Alexandra Balaci - Junior
Gina Balistreri - Sophmore
Katherine Deily - Freshman
Melissa Eckels - Freshman
Martin Hannon - Junior
Jessica Noyes - Sophmore
Timothy Stuart - Junior
Michael Taylor - Senior
Andrew Wilt - Freshman
Robin Zak - Sophmore
Teams Defeated: Penn, Lehigh, Shippensburg
USTA.com: When did you discover that you had the talent to win as a team?
The school year started and we had strong participation and enthusiasm in practice from the get go. At the tournament the University of Maryland hosted, our Villanova (b) team, made up mostly of freshman, managed to make a comeback that surprised the whole team. Once the new members had gotten the confidence to play well in tournaments, the team became more cohesive. After that, we practiced harder and spent more time getting to know each other off the court which directly impacted team chemistry.
USTA.com: How does your team unwind after a day of matches?
After pouring our hearts out on the courts, we like to make sure we are always strong by regaining our strength with a hefty steak dinner and keeping hydrated. Usually we like to bond by playing card games, or just hanging out with the team in the hotel.
USTA.com: When you qualified, how did you celebrate?
We were unsure of our standings after not qualifying in sectionals. However, when our Vice President, Ally, sent out an email telling the team we qualified, shouts filled the hallways. Everything that makes us Villanova Club Tennis was recognized in our middle states tournament bid, including, tournament participation, fundraising, community service, and social events. Since then we have had many team bonding events including a tournament in Hershey, Pennsylvania, to hone our skills for Nationals.
USTA.com: Tell us a bit about how your school is unique.
Our school is unique because our sense of community is rooted in the values of the Augustinian order. This strength of community has brought us together to cheer on our Division 1 athletics, as well as reaching out to the greater Philadelphia area in service. The example that Villanova is well known for is that we host the largest Special Olympics in which many of our club members participate.
USTA.com: If you were to list THREE specific things that need to happen in order to win a National Championship, they would be:
1) We need to keep our players motivated on the court by showing our support and cheering them on.
2) Getting a full night’s sleep and a good meal before we start playing
3) Don’t let nerves get to us and play our game
USTA.com: How do you exhibit school spirit?
We throw our V’s up and try to emulate the cat-like qualities of our mascot, Wil D. Cat.
USTA.com: Share with us a funny story about your team or team member(s).
There are too many funny moments to just pick one so here are three:
1) Dumpster diving behind our hotel in Maryland to fish out the $200 in cash we accidentally threw away. We dug through every bag until we found the envelope that had the money. Meg and Martin never smelled the same after that.
2) Peter showing his spirit by wearing girls’ neon v-neck to our neon team party.
3) Freshman Melissa smacking senior president Shear with a ball in a friendly game of bobsled at practice.
USTA.com: Share with us an uplifting story about your team or team member(s).
Our beloved president Andrew "Big Cat" Shear was awarded the Tennis On Campus Leader Award by USTA Middle States. It was nice to see two years of hard work that goes mostly unseen get recognized. We will miss him very much next year.