With a seven-match winning streak and 11 wins in its last 12 matches, the Elon University women’s tennis team is peaking at the final stretch of the season.
“We’re really clicking together as a team, especially in the bigger matches,” head coach Elizabeth Anderson said.“We have a little bit of a break now, so we’re just trying to regroup and get ready for the rest of the season.”
The Phoenix came off an undefeated weekend in Hilton Head, South Carolina, March 23-24 after beating North Central College, Savannah State University and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. With many players stringing together positive results to extend the streak, the future appears bright for the Phoenix.
One of the players contributing to the winning streak is freshman Erica Braschi. The Dorado, Puerto Rico, native has settled in well at the No. 4 singles spot, going 6-1.
“I like playing No. 4,” Braschi said. “It gives me a lot of confidence. I’ve been getting a lot of wins at No. 4 and I think it’s just a good level for me.”
She has gone 10-2 in singles across all positions for the Phoenix this spring, including nine straight wins in singles play.
While her strength on the court may suggest she is ready to move higher up in the lineup, Braschi said she is happy wherever coach puts her as every spot is worth the same point.
Braschi has also been racking up the victories in doubles, partnered with junior Taylor Casey. The two have become formidable opposition and are 9-1 when paired together, mostly from the No. 3 doubles position.
“They’ve been playing very well together,” Anderson said. “Their games complement each other well, and they have a great chemistry.”
According to Anderson, the duo’s success can also be attributed to their mental strength.
“They’re in a really good place mentally with their focus and just putting a lot into their games,” Anderson said.
Like Braschi, Casey has delivered high quality performances on the court. She has gone 9-3 in singles play, mostly from the No. 6 singles position and has served as a doubles mentor to Braschi.
“Taylor teaches me a lot,” Braschi said. “She’s way more experienced than I am in doubles. I get something out of her and she gets something out of me.”
But Braschi and Casey don’t worry about personal or team winning streaks while on the court.
“We’ve been able to get into that mindset of playing in the moment, playing the team we’re facing and it’s worked out well,” Braschi said.
Braschi spent most of her non-collegiate career playing singles but soon realized just how important doubles is for college teams.
She knew she would have to adapt to playing doubles but didn’t expect it to be such a high priority in the collegiate game.
According to Braschi, the biggest adjustment she has had to make for Elon has been playing both doubles and singles.
“It’s making me come in more and become a net player as well,” she said. “It’s changed my whole game drastically.”
Braschi also draws inspiration from professional Puerto Rican tennis player Monica Puig. Puig currently sits in the top 50 overall in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings.
Braschi said she’s down-to-earth and was fortunate enough to travel with her during a juniors tournament when they were both younger. But Braschi tries to model her game after former world No. 1 Justine Henin.
Braschi, Taylor and the rest of the Phoenix team will return to action at noon Friday when it plays the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.