Out of 600 club tennis teams in the country, Oregon club tennis was one of 64 teams to qualify for national tournament.
The Ducks team made their way to Cary, North Carolina last weekend to compete in the USTA Tennis on Campus National Championships. They finished the tournament in 37th place.
This trip served as not only a great means of competition for a successful Oregon team, but also as a fun experience for the veterans of the team to show the newcomers what it’s like to compete at a national level.
Emily Plutsky, the president of the club team, is one of the experienced upperclassmen and the only senior that made the trip to Cary. She has competed in the National Championships each of the four years she’s been on the team.
“Seeing the excitement of the new members was really exciting,” Plutsky said. “They kind of see what it’s like now, and I don’t think they realize how big of a deal it really is.”
Freshman Lilli Wheary, who made her first trip to the National Championships this past week, said the tournament’s atmosphere was “fun and light.”
“Playing against a lot of different teams from different regions was a great experience,” Wheary said. “I think that everybody was really happy to be there and happy to be able to play tennis with so many different people in a friendly, but competitive environment. It was definitely one of my best tennis memories.”
The tournament began with pool play. Oregon was placed into a pool that included defending national champion Cal Berkeley, as well as Vanderbilt and Lamar.
“It was exciting to know that we would have such strong opponents to play against,” Wheary said. “I think that our attitude going into the match was really good, because we knew that [the Cal Bears] are obviously a really great team and really great competitors, but we still wanted to do out best.”
The Ducks fell 15-29 to Vanderbilt in their first competition of the pool. They went on to defeat Lamar 30-10 and ended pool play with a loss against Cal, 30-12.
With a 1-2 record in pool play, Oregon was placed in the bronze bracket. The Ducks defeated North Carolina State University in the first round, and then fell in a close 24-21 match against the University of Texas at Austin in the quarterfinals. They went on to play in a consolation bracket, where Plutsky won the final match of her tennis career with a win in mixed play.
Junior Neu Nipatasaj said playing tennis is “probably the best thing [he’s] done at the University of Oregon.”
“I’ve made so many friends from the club tennis team, they’re literally like my family,” Nipatasaj said. “I just wanted to spend time with my teammates and make the best out of it for [Plutsky].”
“It was overall just a really fun trip,” Plutsky said. “Everything went smoothly; I was happy with how we did. There’s always room for improvement and I’m excited to see how they do next year.”
Follow Kylee O’Connor on Twitter @KyleeTheMightee