The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student News Site of DePaul University

The DePaulia

DePaul women’s tennis serves up national ranking

Recently ranked at 31st in the nation, DePaul’s women’s tennis team is making a bold name for themselves with an impressive record of 17-3. The team is currently propelled towards achieving its main goals of attaining the Big East championship title, as well as latching a spot the NCAAs. Having not lost a game since late January, the women continued their winning streak by beating Point Loma Nazarene 9-0 in San Diego this past Thursday.

Such highly regarded accomplishments may make it difficult to be humble, but head coach Mark Ardizzone assures that this group of girls is after one thing, and one thing only: to get better every single day.

“What impressed me the most about this team is that, even with this win streak, even with some of the easier victories, these kids keep tryin’ to get better,” he said.

Ardizzone also stresses the fact that they don’t have time to be solely content with what they have accomplished this far into the season.

“I tell the girls that’s at the end of the year … that’s where we can really look at all that stuff,” he said. “Some years I’ve had to force kids to do extra work, and this team (is different).

“For example, I have six kids who want to come in and do extra work,” he added.” It’s been really great to see the day they are satisfied with whatever we’ve accomplished and we just look at the next match.”

Though the team’s accomplishments may come to a surprise to some, Ardizzone sensed the team would have a great season months before it even began.

“I could tell (the team) was going to be pretty good, and quite honestly, we have talented kids as well,” Ardizzone said.

With previous records of 15- 10, 15-8 and 15-11, the leap to such impressive performances is one for the books.

So what’s the difference in this season? Junior Patricia Fargas credits the success to coming together as a team against other nationally ranked teams.

“We all understood what it means to play for each other,” Fargas said.”We all have experience in what it means to go through stress and tension and know how to handle it better.”

Fargas noted the team’s experience helped in outings like against Indiana, where the team earned a 5-2 victory against the 34th ranked team in the nation.

Home to the U.S. Open, the Big East championships will be held in New York at the National Tennis Center. As a new experience to all the players, Ardizzone says it’s an exciting time for not only them, but their families as well.

“I think it’s just an exciting place to have a tournament,” he said. “We have a lot of international kids, so at home, their parents are more than excited that their kids are going to be playing at that venue.”

Fargas says it’s an honor for the team to play in what Ardizzone describes as “a place where the greatest players have ever played (their) sport.”

As for the team’s top players, Fargas and sophomore Ana Vladutu, Ardizzone notes that the team has been fortunate to have two players who can be put into the No. 1 spot. Both have experienced playing in the All- American tournament, giving the team a lot of motivation to do its best when going up against the best in practice everyday.

“Patricia’s just an absolute grinder, and Ana’s just a big hitter ,” Ardizzone said. “She’s prone to some mistakes as well, but when you have two kids like that that you can put out here against any team – Northwestern, Michigan – then you’re in the match.”

Through its accomplishments, DePaul has established a name for itself as it continues to improve with each match. Ardizzone is still getting used to seeing his team high in the rankings, though.

“(We’re) the hunted instead of the hunter,” Ardizzone said. “(The players) have done an amazing job. There’s not one team in the country who could say their four, five and six (positions) are 46-3 combined record. I mean, that is just absurd.”

DePaul had its 16-match win streak snapped Saturday against No. 26 Rice, 5-2, and Sunday 4-2 against No. 33 Houston.

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