Women’s tennis extends record breaking season

The University of Indianapolis women’s tennis team nears the end of their season with a win-loss record of 13-0, making this season their winningest in Greyhound history. With a rigorous match schedule, the women have beaten various opponents including Ball State University as well as their highest ranked opponent to date, Hawaii Pacific University, who holds the No. 4 position. The women are led by Coach Malik Tabet.

“As a team, we didn’t have any expectations other than that we would improve and become a better team than last year,” Tabet said. “This team doesn’t think about winning, but instead thinks about always working on progressing their game and getting better.”

Senior Hannah Volikova high fives her teammate after scoring a point in their doubles match. Nearing the end of their season, the womens’ tennis team is 13-0. The team is focused on winning the Sweet 16 tournament and is hoping to make it to Nationals. Photo by Tony Reeves

Tabet said that their wins come indirectly from the hard work they have been putting in during practices and matches. According to Tabet, the freshman class has been one of their greatest advantages and strengths throughout the season due to the effort across the board from every player, which has made the difference between leaving with a win or a loss.

“There are still strong competitors ahead of us, but this team has very strong aspirations to not only go to, but to win Nationals,” Tabet said. “None of these players have peaked yet so we are not functioning at max capacity and we all think it is time to bring the [national] title home to UIndy.”

According to freshman transfer student Anna Valiaeva, their winning streak is a product of their hard work. She said although the team felt pretty good, they had no expectations for their record going into the season and they will continue to fight throughout the rest of it.

“Working as a team has helped us grow together,” Valiaeva said. “Tennis is an individual sport, but college tennis is all about the team. Having the support of my teammates, as well as supporting them, has been a great quality of this  team.”

The women start their conference tournament at the end of April, but according to Tabet, they have their eyes and minds focused on the Sweet 16 to make it to round two.

To further prepare as the season makes its way over the halfway mark, according to Tabet, the team will wind down in terms of intensity so that players are well rested for this sort of competition that is ahead.

According to Valiaeva, the individual achievements are an afterthought while in mid-season, and have little significance until evaluating the season as a whole and the team as a whole.

“The biggest accomplishments for the players as individuals have yet to come,” Valiaeva said. “It is time for a run all the way to Nationals, which would be the biggest achievement for the individual, and more importantly, the team.”

According to Tabet, it has become apparent that this team will have a legacy at UIndy. They are a well versed team that has proven in their record that they can and have achieved very highly. Tabet and Valiaeva already recognize that this team has made UIndy history and are instead thinking decades down the road about a legacy.

“At this point we still have two months to go before Nationals and we have a lot to work for,” Tabet said. “In my time at UIndy, we have gone quite far so we know what it is like to be in a position to achieve great things, now is the time to do it.”