October 13, 2014
Cyclones crowned region champs, headed to nationals for fourth straight year
Amide doubters and pressure, the Cyclones reached their goals this season and
conquered the NJCAA Region IV tournament (Oct. 9-11) taking home the
championship and a fourth straight berth to nationals.
The Cyclones went into the region competition at Sauk Valley Community College with confidence, feeling prepared. With stellar regular season results, six out of nine positions earned first seeds, giving Moraine Valley six points before stepping on the court.
Kait Seldal was champion in third singles while Claudia Maka won a three-set battle against a College of DuPage player to become fourth singles champion. Lindsey Walker dominated a DuPage player she lost to in the regular season and was the fifth singles champion. Tricia Poremba, who went undefeated all season, faced an undefeated Sauk Valley player. After a long, hard-fought, three-set battle, Poremba lost her first singles match in two years, finishing runner-up in the sixth singles flight.
In first doubles play, the dynamic duo of Liz Dominguez and Seldal had an impressive come-from-behind semi-final win against Sauk Valley. After losing the first set 2-6, they were down 1-2 in the second set when Dominguez rolled her ankle. After calling for the trainer and taking a medical timeout, she limped back on the court. Adrenaline kicked in, and the Cyclones won the next five games, taking the second set. They won the third deciding tiebreaker, 10-7. Despite being one of their best matches, they later lost to #1 seed Elgin Community College, the only duo they lost to in the regular season.
Second doubles Agnieszka Szudy and Walker contributed to the team points with a big win over College of Lake County. At second singles, it took two hours and three sets for Szudy to get knocked out of the singles draw.
At third doubles, Maka and Poremba showed nerves of steel as they clinched the team championship. They defeated the #2 seed from Sauk Valley and finished the season undefeated in doubles play.
The Cyclone strength was evident in the final team scores with Moraine Valley ahead of Sauk Valley by three points and Elgin by seven. All-Region accolades went to Seldal (third singles), Maka (fourth singles), Walker (fifth singles), and Maka and Poremba (third doubles). Coach Nicole Selvaggio was Region Coach of the Year and will go with her team to the national tournament for the fourth straight year either as a coach or player.
“Winning Region Coach of the Year was always a dream of mine, even before I became a coach. To be able to achieve this in only my second year at the helm—and as the youngest head coach to ever do so—makes it all the more special,” Selvaggio said.
From the first day of practice, the Cyclones’ goal was to get a championship banner in the gym and go to nationals in addition to winning the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference. The team had to win the championship to qualify for the national tournament, so the pressure was on.
“This was an absolute team effort, and we definitely had our work cut out for us this season. We didn't have the leeway that the other teams had. It was all or nothing. This made us want it even more. We worked extremely hard to put ourselves in a position that could help us achieve this goal. I am very fortunate to have been to the national tournament in Arizona as a player. I know the high-quality event they run down there so I am very excited for my girls to have the chance to experience this. I am even more humbled to be able to go back there as head coach,” Selvaggio said. “It feels good being #1. Our next goal is to make some noise down at nationals in May.”
The team has all fall and winter to prepare for the tournament in May in Tucson, Arizona.
October 6, 2014
Cyclones creating buzz
The Cyclones are trying to expand their Cyclone Nation. It’s easy to get behind
a team that won their 11th straight and gave Illinois Valley Community College
its first loss of the season.
The battle of the Valleys was moved indoors Oct. 4 due to inclement weather, but that didn’t stop the Cyclones from bringing a crowd to the Oak Lawn Racquet Club and taking a 6-3 victory.
“There were about 50 people there cheering us on. It felt amazing to have that kind of support, especially for our last ‘home’ game. We literally turned the Oak Lawn Racquet Club into Cyclone Nation,” said Coach Nicole Selvaggio.
Claudia Maka was the first to finish her singles match. She played aggressive tennis and got the job done quickly and efficiently. Agnieszka Szudy, Kait Seldal and Tricia Poremba all had dominant singles displays as well with Szudy serving aces left and right. Lindsey Walker also played a stellar singles match, but ultimately lost after a long three-set battle, making her opponent work for the win.
Doubles duo Dominguez and Seldal played well, nearly knocking down their opponents on several aggressive net plays. Third doubles pair Maka and Poremba also had a convincing win, as their communication was strong, their reflexes on point and their net play unstoppable.
“This was an excellent win for us. We played smart, aggressive tennis. This match made us that much stronger, as our display on the tennis courts was nothing but dominant. I am very proud of the progress my girls are making, individually and as a team. It is not easy to earn 11 consecutive wins. We only have a few more practices before the big region tournament with a scrimmage against an NAIA team from Olivet Nazarene University in between. We will definitely make these next few days count,” Selvaggio said.
October 1, 2014
These Cyclones like their shutout matches, adding another one to a near perfect
record. The latest 9-0 win came on Sept. 30 at home against Rock Valley College,
the national champs in 2011.
Liz Dominguez, Agnieszka Szudy, Kaitlyn Seldal, Claudia Maka, Lindsey Walker, Tricia Poremba, Lorissa Sernus, and Fabie Ezife all played well at singles. Maka was the first to finish with a dominating win, setting the tone for the rest of the singles matches. Szudy played her best and most focused singles to date and clinched the team win. Dominguez played smart and aggressive tennis, while demonstrating a high level of finesse. Walker gritted through a good match while Poremba halted her opponent from a 3-0 second set lead and potential comeback. Doubles was just as dominant as each flight played diligently and showed they meant business.
“This kind of result is such a testament to how hard we are working as a team. Now that conference play is over, we still have to stay fresh before the regional tournament next weekend. I worked really hard to schedule tougher matches to prepare us for post-conference play so we remain at our high competitive level,” said Coach Nicole Selvaggio.
The Cyclones play their last home match on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. against Illinois Valley Community College. With one of the most talented women’s tennis teams in Cyclone history, this is a chance to see them compete one last time this year on their home turf.
September 26, 2014
Mission #1 accomplished: conference champs
All the hard work paid off and the Cyclones walked tall after sealing the deal
with a fifth shutout, undefeated conference season and new title of Illinois
Skyway Collegiate Conference champions. They shut out Waubonsee Community
College, 9-0, on their home courts Sept. 25.
Agnieszka Szudy, Kait Seldal, Claudia Maka, and Tricia Poremba all played focused and fierce at singles. Lindsey Walker clinched the team win at fifth singles. At number one singles, Liz Dominguez played some of her best sets all season and won, clinching the 2014 Conference Player of the Year title. “The last time the tennis team had a Conference Player of the Year was me, and I cannot be happier to see it going to Liz this year. I truly mean that. We have worked extremely hard these past two years for her and the whole team to be in this position,” said coach Nicole Selvaggio.
All-Conference honors went to Dominquez and all her teammates: Szudy (#2 doubles), Seldal (#3 singles), Maka (#4 singles and #3 doubles), Walker (#5 singles and #2 doubles), Poremba (#6 singles and #3 doubles). Selvaggio also was named Conference Coach of the Year.
“Going from Player of the Year to Coach of the Year is incredible. I don't think this has ever happened before in our conference for any sport. I credit this to the hard work and diligence of this year's squad. Winning a conference championship was our first goal from day one. Going undefeated in regular season play was our second goal. Now on to the big goal—taking first place in regionals and getting a bid to nationals,” Selvaggio said. “I am extremely proud of where we have come thus far, but we have three more non-conference/non-region games to go before we get to the tournament. I am confident in our abilities. We are only going to use this championship to propel us forward. Eyes are still on the big prize, but it certainly helps to crush through our season goals along the way.”
September 25, 2014
Coach Selvaggio featured on tennis recruiting site
Head coach Nicole Selvaggio was featured on the Tennis Recruiting Network website for an expert panel. As the lone female and NJCAA coach, she gave input into a hot topic in college tennis, “The Impact of the Scoring System on Coaching.” See the article here: www.tennisrecruiting.net/article.asp?id=2021.
September 24, 2014
Shutouts are becoming a way of life for the Cyclones. In their fourth such win
and eighth overall, Moraine Valley took down Oakton Community College, 9-0, on
Notable singles matches go to Liz Dominguez, Agnieszka Szudy and Kait Seldal, who collectively gave up only two games out of three or two out of a total 36 games. First doubles duo Dominguez and Seldal dismantled their opponents in 30 minutes flat.
“I don't think we have ever had this many shutout victories in a single season. This victory puts us in great shape to take the conference title. If we win our last conference match, we will be crowned the champions,” said coach Nicole Selvaggio.
September 19, 2014
Lucky seven for ’Clones
It was lucky number seven for the Cyclones on Sept. 18 when they earned their
seventh straight victory. Moraine Valley defeated College of DuPage 7-2.
Liz Dominguez, Kait Seldal, Claudia Maka, and Tricia Poremba set the tone with dominating singles matches. Third doubles pair Maka and Poremba clinched the team win although the thriller came from first doubles duo Dominguez and Seldal. After a slow start, they lost the first set 3-6. In the second set they were down 2-5 before the mental battle began and they climbed back to win five games in a row to finish it 7-5. In the deciding third set super tiebreaker—the first to 10 points—they were down 2-5 and slowly climbed to 5-9. DuPage only needed one ball to win it, but the Cyclones persevered and won six consecutive points to finish 11-9.
“I honestly haven't seen that level of mental toughness and focus in a very long time. It's just so rare to see nowadays. I actually saw a lot of myself in Dominguez and Seldal's fight. The way all of the girls were cheering each other on and then came together at the end was a moment all of us will never forget. Matches like this are why I do what I do. It's about creating that memory and then sharing it with each other. This was a heck of a match,” said coach Nicole Selvaggio.
September 17, 2014
Cyclones on a roll
The domination continues as the Cyclones took their sixth straight win and third
shutout, 9-0, this time against McHenry County College on Sept. 16.
Each singles position displayed the fighting mentality that is synonymous with the Cyclones’ women's tennis program this season. Liz Dominguez, Claudia Maka and Lindsey Walker showcased superb mental toughness. Agnieszka Szudy and Tricia Poremba dominated their opponents, winning soundly in their singles positions. Doubles duo Kait Seldal and Dominguez once again played smart doubles, while pair Maka and Poremba were aggressive and dominant in their net play.
“It feels good to have obtained another successful shutout win. To have any shutout, let alone three so far, is very difficult to do. I think it speaks volumes about our capabilities. We never take a match lightly. To have each girl play as well as she did in each respective position is really great to see,” said coach Nicole Selvaggio.
September 12, 2014
Cyclones take big win over Spartans
Redemption is a beautiful thing. It came quickly and soundly for the Cyclones on
Sept. 11. After losing their lone regular season match last season to Elgin
Community College, Moraine Valley came out and defeated the Spartans, 7-2.
Despite drastically cooler temperatures, the Cyclones remained focused, composed and pumped throughout the match. Liz Dominguez had a strong win at first singles. Kait Seldal, Claudia Maka, Lindsey Walker, and Tricia Poremba each won convincingly in their singles matches as well. Doubles duo Walker and Agnieszka Szudy kept up their solid play while third doubles team Maka and Poremba destroyed their opponents, taking every game. Although first doubles pair Dominguez and Seldal lost, they were on the verge of making a comeback in the second set after being down 2-5. They eventually lost in a close tiebreaker.
“Their fight and tenacity to work their way back embodies the ‘fight-for-every-point’ philosophy I encourage in my players. Sportsmanship also was synonymous with the Cyclones. Even though we presented strong tennis on the courts, we were high-fiving our opponents and even hugging them afterwards—a rare sight in such a competitive sport at this level,” said coach Nicole Selvaggio. “My players epitomized the utmost level of class and integrity, especially against such a big conference rival. I cannot be more proud of them. We went into this match as a mentally and physically prepared team. We walked away as a stronger, unwaveringly confident family. We are optimistic about our upcoming matches.”
September 10, 2014
Cyclones grab first conference win
In their first Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference match of the season (Sept.
9), the Cyclones shut out College of Lake County, 9-0, at home.
There was nothing but domination on the court especially when it came to singles play.
Liz Dominguez, Agnieszka Szudy, Kait Seldal, and Claudia Maka all played exceptional singles matches. Lindsey Walker and Tricia Poremba won their respective singles matches in under 45 minutes, winning every game. The Cyclones swept doubles play as well, once again showing mental toughness and communication among partners.
“I am very pleased with how all of my girls are playing. We are displaying high-quality tennis in singles and doubles. The focus each girl brings forth in each respective position is absolutely rock solid,” said coach Nicole Selvaggio. “We look forward to growing stronger each time we step foot on the courts.”
September 8, 2014
Third straight for ’Clones
Mental toughness shone through again for the Cyclones in their third straight
win. Moraine Valley dominated Sauk Valley Community College 7-2 on Sept. 6.
Notable wins came from singles players Kaitlyn Seldal, Claudia Maka, Lindsey Walker, and Tricia Poremba. Each woman remained focused and aggressive throughout their matches. Seldal dominated her opponent, playing smart and powerful tennis. Maka's focus and high-intensity also allowed her to earn a fast win. Walker displayed excellent mental toughness and tenacity by coming back to win her match after losing the first set. Team captain Poremba showed her leadership skills on and off the court, and also proved how unshakable her mental toughness is.
The Cyclones swept the three doubles positions as well. The communication between partners was excellent, and the footwork displayed a high-level of preparedness and energy. The match of the day was first doubles duo Liz Dominguez and Seldal with their efficient groundstrokes and net-play. That was a high-intensity match between both teams, but Moraine Valley’s composure and aggressiveness definitely gave them an edge.
“This first road win against a regional rival is huge for us. Each Cyclone displayed high-quality tennis. My girls went into this match prepared and confident in their abilities. We will only get stronger from here. We know the road ahead, and we will remain focused on our goals,” said coach Nicole Selvaggio.
September 5, 2014
Thrilling doubles win seals the deal for Cyclones victory
The Cyclones demonstrated mental toughness as they won another hard-fought
battle on their home courts Sept. 4, this time against Benedictine University, a
NCAA Division III school. A final doubles match sealed the deal in Moraine
Valley’s 5-4 win.
Significant wins at singles came from Tricia Poremba, who played some smart tennis, and Agnieszka Szudy, who dominated her match.
The real thrill came from doubles duo Lindsey Walker and Szudy, who clinched the team win after displaying incredible tenacity and nerves of steel. They played solid, aggressive doubles with infectious energy with four minutes to spare before the court lights turned off at 9 p.m.
“Even though this was another pre-season exhibition match for us, it feels great to be keeping up with and ultimately defeating these four-year universities,” said head coach Nicole Selvaggio. “Our first region match is tomorrow on the road against Sauk Valley. I feel like we are more than ready for them and all the other junior colleges ahead. The Benedictine match was an excellent test for our mental toughness. There are a lot of positive takeaways from it. We are pumped for the road ahead.”
August 30, 2014
Cyclones earn shutout win
The Cyclones earned their first win and shutout of the season Aug. 29 with a 9-0
victory over Concordia University
Notable singles matches included Liz Dominguez, Kaitlyn Seldal, Claudia Maka, and Lindsey Walker. Doubles duo Dominguez and Seldal communicated well and played strong. Agnieszka Szudy and Walker also had a great doubles match.
“This was the first win of pre-season play. The women all remained focused and played hard. Each day we are growing stronger and more confident in our abilities,” said head coach Nicole Selvaggio.
August 28, 2014
A battle in the home opener
The Cyclones opened their season at home on Aug. 27 against NAIA school
Roosevelt University. Despite falling 4-5, Moraine Valley put up a fight and
gained strength for future matches.
Claudia Maka, Tricia Poremba, Agnieszka Szudy, and Fabie Ezife each won very convincingly in singles play. Maka and Poremba also played exceptionally well in doubles. Collectively, the Cyclones were aggressive, communicated well and displayed superb footwork. They made Roosevelt work for wins, as several matches could have easily gone either way. First doubles lost 9-7, second doubles lost 10-8 and second singles went three sets.
“Today's match allowed us to get even stronger for the road ahead. I feel like even though the ‘W’ wasn't on our side of the scoreboard, we set the tone for the type of tennis we are capable of and will be displaying throughout this season,” said head coach Nicole Selvaggio. “These girls all played unbelievable tennis. We hung with Roosevelt. If we gave an NAIA team that tough of a time, then I can't wait to see the tennis we have ahead of us.”
August 22, 2014
Cyclones refuse to lose in 2014
Second-year women’s tennis coach Nicole Selvaggio wants her team to envision
their name on banners proclaiming them the conference and region champions.
Fortunately, the players also want to avenge their one loss last season and win
it all in 2014.
If the off season is any indication, the Cyclones are focused and ready to live up to their new motto—Refuse to Lose. After suffering their only loss in the 2013 regular season to conference rival Elgin Community College, the team wants to win it all, knowing they have a target on their back.
After playing well at nationals this past May, several returners will bring a maturity and understanding of this level of competition to the newbies. All-Region player Tricia Poremba (Maine West) is stepping up as captain this season and is rejoined by All-Region player Claudia Maka (Oak Lawn), Liz Dominguez (Eisenhower) and Lindsey Walker (Andrew).
Thanks to Selvaggio’s recruiting efforts, the Cyclones have added strength to the squad with newcomers Fabie Ezife (Hillcrest), Kaitlyn Seldal (Queen of Peace), Lorissa Sernus (Shepard), and Agnieszka Szudy (Stagg).
This team is already close on and off the court. They’ve used the new Health Fitness & Recreation Center to work with weights and improve cardio. They thrive on pressure and are fierce on the court. So with a packed schedule that includes some NAIA and DIII colleges, the Cyclones anticipate the tougher competition will make them that much stronger for the NJCAA Region IV tournament.
“I plan on coming in first this year. The returners want to avenge a second-place finish. We’re a solid team with no holes. We have to be in sync and bring it on the court. They’re ready to go,” Selvaggio said. “I tell them to expect all the conference schools to be better than last season and let their racket do the talking. They want it this year.”
Selvaggio is not only stressing excellence on the court, but in the classroom as well. “I don’t tolerate excuses. Their priority should be school…and then tennis,” she said.