No. 16 women’s tennis dominant in spring season, opens with perfect 6-0 record

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Katya Melchor / Hilltop Views

Freshman Camila Baeza prepares a serve during a weekly practice. As a newcomer, Baeza is already making an impact for the team as her win against St. Mary's has contributed to the Hilltoppers' 6-0 start.

The hard work of the St. Edward’s University women’s tennis team has reflected impressively as they’re currently sitting at a No. 16 national ranking with an undefeated 6-0 record.

Head coach Kendall Brooks commented on the team’s standing.

“The first set of rankings that came out was based on where we ended last year and also factoring in our fall results from a few of our players that did well at the fall regional tournament. We’ve had a good start, we have a good ranking, but we haven’t necessarily earned it and we need to prove that’s where we belong,” Brooks said.

Although the team is off to a strong start, it hasn’t come easy. Loli Perim, a sophomore on the team, mentioned some of the challenges that the team has overcome.

“The biggest challenge is having five freshmen on a team of eight players and a new transfer. A lot of the year was getting to know each other, how each person plays, personalities and how we play as a team.”

Kate Malazonia, also a sophomore, echoed similar challenges. “New faces, new personalities and seeing each other’s strengths and weaknesses in tennis.”

Brooks said that it’s too early in the season to know how the rest will play out, and the team is more focused on improving their skills one match at a time.

“It’s early, we’re just getting started. The matches we played so far have been warm-ups to get us ready for the conference, which starts in another week. Our goal every year going in is to compete for a conference championship,” Brooks said. “We try not to get ahead of ourselves, taking each match one at a time. Play the match, learn from it, work on what we need to work on and get ready for the next match.”

Both Permin and Malazonia agree; this mindset is responsible for the team’s success so far.

“Honestly, mostly all of it is our coach. She knows how to deal with every situation and knows exactly what we need to do and when we need to do it.” Permin said. “She takes care of us like we’re her daughters, and I think we owe a lot of everything to her.”

Malazonia talked about Brooks’ impact as well.

“She cares about how hard we work and how hard we try, which puts less pressure on us in a way. We know there’s one thing we need to focus on, and every time we turn up, we just need to do that one thing. Improving in tennis and good results just come along with it.”