NCAA Spring Festival Blog: Day Three
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Sophomore Paola Cigui recaps day three of the CSU women's tennis team's trip to Louisville, KY, site of the NCAA Division II Spring Festival. Cigui, a native of Italy, is in her first season at Columbus State and is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation in singles.
Louisville Day 3: CSU vs. Lewis University
May 16- This is our second awakening in the Marriott Downtown Hotel in Louisville. Finally it's time to play our first round of the National Championships! Our opponents is 22nd ranked Lewis University. Our day definitely started very early. At 6.20 AM we were supposed to leave the hotel because our match started at 8 AM. Olivera [Jokic] was the first one to wake up, with her usual super early timing, that day at 5:30. Even though we all have different methods of managing time in the morning, we all met together at breakfast exactly at the same time without any appointment. This was the first sign of team chemistry, a good beginning of the day.
During the very early drive to the E. P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, some of us were still not completely awake. Renata [Paiva] for example fell asleep, but she was also immediately woken up with a loud order: "Renata, wake up!!!!! It's not time to sleep!" After a warm-up, we were all very excited and ready to show our team spirit and a huge dose of Cougar energy. It was the first time for every one of us to experience the adrenaline before a national tournament match. We all had a good feeling and every single one of us showed determination. The first doubles that put a victory on the board for CSU was third doubles with a great performance by Renata and Andrea [Redrado] who won with a solid 8-2 [mark]. Right after them, Milica and I finished our doubles with the score 8-3. It was in that moment that most of our team spirit went out, supporting the second doubles team that was fighting in the tiebreaker. In the end, Olivera and Caro [Carolin Weikard] won their match 7-3 in the tiebreaker. Consequently we took a commanding 3-0 lead that give us even more energy for the singles matches that started after a short break after the successful doubles.
The first single player to win was Sandra [Jung], who won with an amazing score of 6-0, 6-0, showing her best aggressive tennis. Not long after the win of our young German Lady Cougar, Olivera finished her match, dropping just one game. In addition, with a solid 5-0 the Cougars made our way to the National Quarterfinals!! It was just the second time in CSU [history] that a women tennis team made their way to the quarterfinals. We all felt very proud of our performances and full of energy for the next day. We also knew that our opponents will be extremely good players.
That night we had a delicious dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. After an incredible free massage in a mall close to the restaurant, we come back to the hotel with only one big thought in our mind: our next opponent, BYU Hawaii, the number one team in the country. We knew that it will be a very tough challenge for all of us, but we also still believe in the quote: "never underestimate what a motivated and determined team can achieve!"