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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “New faces bring optimistic outlook, attitude for women’s tennis team”

    Last year’s women’s tennis season was, in a word, forgettable.

    “”Last year was very hard,”” said senior Danielle Steinberg. “”We had so many injuries and bad breaks that our attitude was terrible.””

    Head coach Vicky Maes was well aware of just how bad last season was, and knew that the best way to turn it around would be to give the team a facelift.

    With the addition of three highly touted freshmen this year, the Wildcats are an entirely new team.

    “”The three new girls have performed really well,”” Maes said. “”They are really talented, mature and competitive, and have brought in a new attitude that has motivated the upper classmen.””

    The three-headed monster of Sarah Landsman, Debora Castany and Natasha Marks has made a seamless transition to college life both on and off the court. Landsman and Castany were regulars at each preseason tournament and saw immediate results.

    “”Their play throughout the preseason has been great,”” Maes said of the freshmen. “”They made an impact on our team right away.””

    What makes this freshmen crop even more intriguing is that Marks, perhaps the most talented of the three, was sidelined for the majority of the semester with appendicitis but was able to make a return a few days after the final preseason tournament.

    “”She missed a lot of time, but from what we’ve seen since her return and what we saw before her injury, we think that she will be a key player for us,”” Maes said.

    The new attitude has stretched far beyond the freshmen.

    “”This has been the best fall semester since I got (to Arizona),”” Steinberg said. “”Our attitude is so positive and we really want to improve, so we’re working as hard as we can every day.””

    One of the reasons for last year’s struggles was the endless string of injuries. Maes has implemented a rigorous strength and conditioning program to get her players in better shape and to keep them off the sidelines.

    “”We have a couple returning players that really improved their game and their work ethic this semester, and it is already paying off,”” Maes said. “”Ariane Masschelein, for example, was injured during the fall last year and struggled during the regular season because of it.

    “”This year she has really worked hard in the summer and the fall, and she has beaten some of the top players in the country (this semester),”” Maes added. “”We expect her to make a huge impact this season.””

    With all of the improvements the team has made so far, they know now is not the time to rest on their laurels.

    “”We know that we can turn things around from last year, and we aren’t about to let up,”” Steinberg said. “”We work extremely hard in practice, and we are very aggressive and competitive with each other. If we can take that same attitude and effort in practice and carry it over to actual matches, we will be a very good team.””

    Maes couldn’t have said it better herself.

    “”The bottom line is that last year was a very tough year,”” Maes said. “”Our confidence was low and our attitude was poor, but this year it’s very different. Everybody has a new attitude and is doing what they can to motivate each other.

    “”We’ve had some great results and good individual wins,”” she added. “”If we can continue this competitive spirit, then I think this season will be a big turning point for our program.””

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