No. 27 Arizona vs. No. 37 Florida State
Friday, May 9
10 a.m. PT
NCAA Regionals, Round One
Live Stats/Streaming: http://www.georgiadogs.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/ncaa-regionals-2014.html
Singles Players in the Rankings:
No. 45 Lacey Smyth
No. 79 Lauren Marker
No. 106 Kim Stubbe
Singles Players in the Rankings:
No. 120 Kerrie Cartwright
Doubles Teams in the Rankings
No. 30 Daneika Borthwick/Kerrie Cartwright
When freshman women’s tennis player Lauren Marker was five years old, her father handed her a tennis racket.
Her father, a former member of the Duluth men’s tennis team in Minnesota, urged Marker to learn the sport. It was there that her bright future was born and it sparked her dream of pursuing a collegiate tennis career.
“Watching my dad play tennis with his friends is what inspired me to step on the court,” Marker said. “I love the energy once you’re on the court.”
Yearning to continue her tennis career into college fueled Marker’s fiery attitude and competitive nature on the court. Her viable, competitive drive during her high school career is what led her to be a Southern California Sectionals finalist, winning the UTSA National Open in doubles, and finishing first place in the Copper Bowl.
And since arriving at Arizona, Marker’s success has only continued. She has taken her freshman season by storm, overlooking her newcomer status with an extraordinary performance.
Recording a 16-5 singles record overall, Marker has mainly played at the No. 3 spot. But she made her presence known when she beat the country’s 14th best player, California’s Zsofi Susanyi in straight sets on March 29. She also found herself in the national rankings in the last four weeks of the season, with her highest ranking coming in at No. 61.
“I just want to be the best I can be,” Marker said. “And in order to do that, I put forth the best effort possible. Contributing to where we want to be, as a team.”
She has been a significant contributor to the No. 27 Wildcats’ successful 17-5 season. But as the lone freshman on a team with four seniors, coming into collegiate tennis was initially a little intimidating.
But seniors Lacey Smyth, Kim Stubbe, Akilah James and Susan Mc Rann welcomed Marker on to the team (along with junior Laura Oldham and sophomores Inge Hendrixk and Shayne Austin) for a seamless transition.
“The seniors are really the heart of the team,” said Marker. “It made it an easier transition from high school athletics to collegiate, having such a welcoming environment. They all took me under their wing, and just made it fun, and easier to focus on playing tennis.”
Marker formed an extra special bond when head coach Vicky Maes paired her with Stubbe at the No. 2 doubles spot. In addition to an impressive 7-3 record, Marker found Stubbe to be a source of inspiration.
“Kim is what motivates me,” Marker said. “She has been a continual inspiration throughout the season for me. I really would not be the player I am today without Kim by my side.”
On the reverse, Stubbe and the rest of the seniors have valued Marker’s presence throughout the year.
“Lauren has been an outstanding freshman for us on and off the court,” Stubbe said. “She was not only my teammate, but I was fortunate enough to become her doubles partner.”
And although the seniors will wrap up their Wildcat careers, they know that Marker is just getting started.
“She listens really well and that’s what I like about her,” Stubbe said. “She had a fantastic freshman year and I know that with her personality, her hard work and her passion for tennis, she will have a bright future ahead of her.”