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Feb. 27, 2007

By David Vitto caught up with women’s tennis players Brintney Larson, Jennifer Stevens, and Kristen McVitty to see how the Cavalier first-years are adapting to being the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 singles players in the Cavaliers’ lineup this season.

1.What were some of the qualities that you were looking for in a tennis program that led you to choose Virginia?

BL: Some of the qualities I was looking for in a tennis program was a highly competitive team in the ACC, a great coach with whom I could improve my game, and a great group of girls on the team. All of these things were really hard to find all at one school. I was so blessed to have been accepted to UVA, a school that has ALL of them.

KM: I chose UVa because I wanted to play on a team that I could have an impact on. UVa’s struggle in the past and goals for the future of the program provided this opportunity.

JS: Some of the qualities that led me to choose Virginia as a tennis program were a good team environment, the coaching, and my tennis ability to improve tremendously with those two aspects.

2. How has opening the season on the road helped this team gel?

BL: Our team has bonded so much from playing games in car rides and planes, having team meetings in hotels and, having the positive influence of my team constantly around me. We’ve bonded so much and I think it’s helping our team come together in matches as well.

KM: Spending so much time on the road together for three day spans and having to supply all the support for one another because we are away each facilitated our efforts to bring the team together.

JS: My teammates have been incredible this year, I could not have asked for a better team. Opening the season on the road has strengthened my friendships with the girls and has bonded us together as a team. Our team chemistry is amazing and it is a rare quality to have and I’m happy to be a part of it.

3. When people talk about Virginia tennis, what traits do you want the program to be known for?

BL: When people talk about Virginia tennis I want people to think of a team that knows how to fight with everything they have and still have a great time doing it. I also want people to know that no other team is working harder then us, so if their going to beat us then they have their work cut out for them.

KM: Great desire and determination.

JS: I would like people to say that women’s Virginia tennis girls are fighters and never give up, have a positive attitude, and have remarkable team synergy.

4. What type of an advantage do the Boyd Tinsley Courts give you?

BL: We’re very spoiled with the Boyd Tinsley courts, it’s an amazing atmosphere to practice in.

KM: Our courts are the nicest indoor courts I have ever seen. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing facility. The courts are an indication of this community’s commitment to Virginia Tennis.

JS: Boyd Tinsley’s Courts have been unbelievable, they attract such a good fan base and I cannot wait to play our first home match coming up this Saturday.

5. How has collegiate tennis been different from juniors?

BL: The team atmosphere of college tennis is completely different than juniors, it’s no longer every man for himself. Eight girls working together to achieve a goal is ten times better and more fun then just one person.

KM: College tennis is different from junior tennis in so many ways. First of all, tennis transforms from a completely individual effort into a team one. You are no longer only playing for yourself, but also your teammates and school. One of the greatest aspects of it is the energy in the atmosphere; using the positive energy of teammates on surrounding courts and letting it influence your play is the best part of college tennis.

JS: Collegiate tennis is wonderful experience, but differs a lot from juniors. I am no longer just playing for myself and now I have a whole team and support system behind me, this is a great feeling to play with this much encouragement.

6. What are the goals this team has for the rest of the season?

BL: Our team goals for the rest of the season is to go out in every point of every match and fight as hard as we possibly can. We believe if we do this, our results will eventually come.

KM: Improving on a daily basis and ultimately pulling through with a win in every match we can.

JS: The goal this team has this season is to improve one day at a time on and off the court, and by doing that, this team will be very successful.

7. What advice would you give to young tennis players who want to play on the collegiate level?

BL: Advice I would give to young tennis players who want to play on a college level is to start preparing early, take it seriously and, not underestimate the intensity and level of college tennis. Also to be willing to fight not only for your self, but for your team.

KM: Keep it up, it’s lots of fun and a great experience.

JS: I would tell an upcoming tennis player to pick the school with the best teammates because they are going to be your best friends throughout your college experience.

8. What goals do you have for yourself outside of tennis?

BL: This semester I’m really trying to work on my academic grades while still being a well-balanced student athlete.

KM: To learn from my experiences at UVa, so that I will benefit in the future.

JS: The goal I have for myself outside of tennis is to grow and learn from this college experience and cherish every moment of it.

9. If you could play a singles match against anyone (tennis or non-tennis players), who would it be and why?

BL: If I can play a singles match against anyone it would be Rodger Federer because he is the epitome of what tennis is.

KM: Monica Seles because she’s so inspiring.

JS: I would want to play against Roger Federer because he is probably the greatest tennis player of all time and I have admired his tennis ability for a while.

10. How important has it been to have a few veterans on the team to help guide a young squad?

BL: I’ve looked up to Lindsey [Periera] and Caroline [Hammond] so much in how they lead the team, the intensity and dedication needed to succeed and, as friends with great advice who have been in my shoes and know what I’m going through as a first year.

KM: Some of the older girls have stepped up to help us in many ways. From leadership efforts to helping us adjust to college life, they have been a great help.

JS: The older girls on the team have helped me out a lot this fall and got me through some rough patches. They have contributed so much for this team and put in a lot of extra time to help our “young squad” grow together.

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