Junior Marlou Kluiving steps up to lead young Oregon women’s tennis team
Oregon women’s tennis is looking for a leader.
Last year, it was Nicole Long who head coach Alision Silverio said “stepped up in a big way” for the Oregon team. But with Long graduated, Silverio is looking for one of her players to take that leadership position on the court.
With five new players on the team, that role will fall onto one of the returners as the team begins its spring season.
“We do have four veterans on our team, so they’re certainly going to be the leaders pulling the freshman and our new players along,” Silverio said.
With just two juniors and no seniors on the team, Silverio has already pinpointed Marlou Kluiving as someone the team looks up to.
“Marlou is one of our leaders on the court,” Silverio said. “She’s always making sure the young ones are getting their full stretch on and, you know, putting in that full effort.”
That effort paid off for the team in the first tournament of the season, the Long Beach Invitational. Both Kluiving and freshman Christi Woodson won out the weekend in both singles and doubles.
The Ducks went on to finish the weekend tournament on Sunday 3-1 in doubles and 7-1 in singles.
Younger players on the team attribute some of that success to the returners.
“The older ones can guide us and then tell us what to do right and what’s expected and everything,” freshman Shweta Sangwan said. “So it’s nice to have them guide us.”
Whether showing up to practice with a good attitude or just playing with consistency in each match, Silverio finds that Kluiving has been instrumental in shaping the team this season.
Personally, Kluiving has improved her own game as well.
“The biggest improvement that Marlou has made is the mental side,” Silverio said. “She’s become so mentally tough that whatever opponents throw her, she’s able to adapt.”
Kluiving has noticed that this year more players are coming to her with questions. But she is modest when it comes to compliments, and she is quick to attribute the success of the season to the team as a whole.
“Our team is more like a group, we’re all leaders in our own ways,” Kluiving said. “Maybe one person speaks up a little bit more often, but everybody has their role.”
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