While depth and roster expansion have been common among the Beaver Athletic programs this year, the Women's Tennis program is the one exception. Boasting a wealth of diverse players, the team hopes to expand their skills and put some checks in the win column.
Kami Vallero, new head coach of the program, highlights how she and the team and coaching staff feel about the new season coming up. "This tennis program is special to me because I played here as a student, to see that we have moved forward from the traditional style of a tennis player. It's really cool to see how those differences melt together. That's our strength."
Vallero also brings unique and new ideas to the team, as she was once in her player's shoes. Vallero, a Blackburn graduate and tennis player herself, already has a feel for the conference and how their programs operate. As the new head coach, she hopes to change how they approach practices and matches. "Being mentally prepared and mentally focused as a tennis player is key to winning your match. We do a couple minutes of meditation before and after practice and matches. It gives the players a couple minutes to clear their minds and focus before they start playing."
Returning to the program are Junior Gariel Pierce (Springfield, IL), Senior Bonny Eyer (Gibson City, IL), Freshman Sophie Netemeyer (Waterloo, IL), Senior Cierra Gibson (Maywood, IL), Junior Fatima Noor (Peshawar, Pakistan), and Junior Asia Coleman (St. Louis, MO).
Rounding out the roster, and new to the program, is Freshman Erica Bechtold (Jerseyville, IL).
With the majority of the team returning, it gives the Beavers the edge they need to overcome their opponents. Capitain Bonny Eyer and top Singles player Gariel Pierce both contribute the overall team dynamic and the differing strengths as their major keys to success.
The Beavers will open their season with a home match March 20 against Fontebonne. The match starts at 4:30.