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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Trio springs Wildcats to early success

Nick Smallwood
Arizona women’s tennis athletes junior Lauren Marker and senior Shayne Austin exchange words of luck before a match against San Diego in Tucson on Friday, Feb. 12. Austin, Marker and Samantha Czarniak make up a trio that has dominated opponents this spring season.

What do a senior from California, a nationally ranked junior and a junior transfer from Brazil have in common? As different as these players may seem, they came together at Arizona to jumpstart the Wildcats to a stellar start this spring.

Shayne Austin , Lauren Marker and Sam Czarniak make up the core group of players on the Arizona women’s tennis team who have dominated all opponents in their way. These upperclassmen are giving it their all this season to pursue excellence in the competitive Pac-12 Conference.

To further understand what makes these athletes so dominant, one must start with the mastermind who put all three players together on the same roster.

The Mastermind: Vicky Maes

An Arizona alumna and highly decorated college tennis player herself, Arizona women’s tennis head coach Vicky Maes has created a coaching style of developing her players year in and year out. It has produced fantastic results on the court, which has been seen considering the Wildcats record of 8-2. An undefeated home record so far doesn’t hurt either.

Always spoken highly of by her players, the trio is the first to admit that Maes has transformed its game to the highest level.

“Coach Maes is so dedicated to everything this team does,” Marker said. “She will always put in extra hours for all of her players; she’ll do everything and anything for us.”

The senior Austin also commented on the final result she gives to players at this program.

“She’s a coach that knows exactly how to help her players and what areas they need to improve,” Austin said. “Being here for almost four years now, I see the work she puts in and how it translates with us on the court.”

Maes sees talent all around her and her ability to connect one-on-one with her players is a huge reason for her success. But a deeper understanding of each member of the dominant trio is needed to grasp the importance of these players.

The unstoppable Marker

If there is one player on this team that needs no introduction, it’s Marker.

As a team captain and nationally-ranked player within the top 50 nationally, her work ethic is second to none. She possesses the greatest ability an athlete can have: making the teammates around her better.

Czarniak praised her team captain in many ways.

“Lauren inspires everyone with her hard working ability,” Czarniak said. “She always gives 100 percent and [is] always fighting, which we all take note of and try to do as well.”

Marker has been nearly unstoppable this season, posting a 9-1 singles record and an even more impressive 7-2 doubles record.

Maes already believes that Marker might be one of the best players she’s coached.

“Anytime you play No. 1 on a Pac-12 team, you’re going to be great,” Maes said. “She works harder than anyone I know and she still has a whole other year to get even better. She definitely could leave here as an All-American.”

Austin as the heart and soul

The heart and soul of the Arizona team has come from none other than Austin.

“The person that has elevated this team so far is Shayne,” Maes said. “She wants her last year to the best it can be, and she is doing everything she can to make that happen.”

Austin won’t go out without a fight during her senior year.

She currently has a 7-2 singles record and a doubles record alongside Marker of 7-2.

“[Austin] and I are really good friends off the court, and that makes it so much easier to communicate on the court,” Marker said. “We’re just really comfortable with each other and having that bond makes us so good.”

The duo’s ability to capture that doubles point is why Arizona’s record is as solid as it is.

Czarniak’s energy ignites ‘Cats

An undefeated singles player and a transfer from Texas Tech, Czarniak has all the qualities of a Wildcat and is one of the most valuable players on the team.

The passion and emotions she brings to practice and matches creates an inspiring atmosphere that the program uses in moments of doubt or uncertainty.

“She brings energy. She’s always pumped up,” Marker said. ”You can hear her anyway on the court, which is great to have. It’s rare you have [a] teammate that gives so much energy in a team match regardless of her own individual performance.”

The Brazil native, Czarniak, has taken the team by storm and, just like her fellow teammates, gives everything she has to get better and make her team better.

Follow Noah Sonnet on Twitter.

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