Coming off a successful run at the national tournament in May, the Moraine Valley Community College women’s tennis team is looking to repeat that high level of achievement with the 2023 squad.
Moraine Valley had its highest finish at the NJCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship in the spring – 21st out of 29 teams – as well as the highest finish by an individual player – fifth place. This came after a 2022 fall season where the Cyclones won championships in the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference and NJCAA Region 4. Although there are a few new faces on the team, the three returners will take the lead while the coaches are ready and eager to prepare the athletes.
“We have a solid roster. We picked up talented players, and they’re excited to play college tennis,” said third-year Head Coach Matt Marusarz, who earned Region and Skyway Coach of the Year last season. “The goal every year is to get that big championship. We’re staying confident. Playing in college is a different level, so we’re definitely trying to stay focused with clear minds before we start the season. We’re getting the team in tip-top shape so we can bring back another championship.”
From last year’s crew is Erica Chapan (Andrew), who earned a conference and region championship at No. 3 doubles, Victoria Maratea (Lincoln-Way West) and Izzy Slezakova (Stagg). “Izzy is just as good as ever and will be solid at No. 1 singles,” Marusarz noted.
New to the team is Allyson English (Oak Forest), Holly McGrath (Shepard) and Maya Morris (Sandburg). “Allison has good consistency and can place the ball. Maya will be great on the court, and Holly knows how to place the ball,” Marusarz said. “These new players have a lot of potential, and I’m looking forward to them competing.”
This season, Marusarz is working on improving the players’ endurance and stamina for each match. “We want them to not burn out during a match. We want them ready, so we’re running more,” Marusarz explained.
Although the team is aiming for big achievements and assessing their skills at the region tournament, the overall goal is to get better throughout the season.
“Any tennis coach will say they want to see improvement and see that the student-athlete still loves the sport. I’m excited about that,” Marusarz said. “Tennis is fun, and anyone can pick it up. Coach Dave [Souza] and I are really excited to get back at it and repeat success.”
Souza will join Marusarz again as assistant coach. The Cyclones have their season and home opener on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2:45 p.m., against College of Lake County.
For updates on Cyclones Athletics, visit mvcyclones.com.
For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley communications specialist and sports information coordinator, at (708) 974-5742 or Vizzam@morainevalley.edu.