Women’s Tennis credits strengthened bonds as key to current success


Preston Zbroszczyk

DePaul secured its place in the rankings for the first time since 2016 with a record of 9-6 overall and 3-0 record in the Big East conference.

The DePaul women’s tennis team came off an 8-game long winning streak, securing its place in the rankings for the first time since 2016. With a current record of 9-8 and a 4-1 record in the Big East, the team has shown impressive improvement to last season’s 9-9 record.

The team attributes the strong start to the bonds formed this season.

Graduate student Maddie Yergler is in her fifth season on DePaul’s tennis team and emphasizes the team is closer than they’ve ever been before. 

“We’re really close this year, we all have the same goals,” Yergler said. “School, tennis, and friendship-wise, we all get along really well. I mean, we look forward to going to practice, not just for tennis, but just to hang out.”

Head coach Marisa Arce said that the team’s bonds are the highlight of coaching the team and make the experience all the more rewarding.

“I think it’s just the relationships of the girls on the team,” Arce said. “That allows them to play tennis and win matches. Without that, even if you’re winning matches but you don’t have good relationships, it’s not fulfilling. But you know, once you have that base, they really are lifelong relationships. They really are just building that every year.”

Along with the strong friendships among the teammates, the string of victories is also attributed to rigorous training, intelligent strategy and sincere dedication. 

Graduate student Valentina Martin believes more focus on training and preparation played a part in the team’s early success.

“I say we take it week by week,” Martin said. “We have base training, and we have Yuliya who does the scouting reports for each team. We try to see if we know any girls from the other teams we’re playing, and Marisa does the practice blend based on how the team we’re playing usually plays. We have a lot of good strategies going.”

Arce also highlighted the importance of preparation for matches and how a strong foundation makes for a stellar performance on the court.

“We have a pretty standard routine,” Arce said. “I think everyone does well with a routine. We really try to stick to something like that. We kinda just need to make sure we’re in a good place mentally and psychically, just being willing to leave it all out there.

Martin recounts some of their rival teams and the motivation to defeat some of their biggest competition.

“Definitely Savior, Marquette is one of them, we just played them last weekend. Probably St. John’s. I mean St. John’s last year we played them twice, in the regular season. And we lost to them. And then we beat them in the conference semifinals, which was a great match for us since they were on a 13-match-long winning streak, and we had lost to them previously that year, so it was a great win for us. 

In preparation for the rest of the season and the upcoming conference matches, both Martin and Yergler express excitement for what is to come.

“I would say we’re in the final stretch of the season, to put it that way, and now is where we see all of our work and the progress we’ve made since the beginning of the season. Our most important goal is at the end of April which is a conference. So every match, we’re making sure we’re ready for that tournament,” Martin states.

“I’m just really excited to see what we can do, we’ve been doing great recently. In the past years, we’ve been so close to beating the big teams, and this year we beat Iowa, which was a big deal. We finally made that final step, and we got ranked for the first time since 2016. So I think we’re putting that all together right now, and we’re really excited to see all the things we can do,” Yergler says.