Nearly 30 minutes after her singles match was completed, senior Shauna Galvin sat on court No. 6 taking it all in. After four years of dedication to the program, her Senior Day celebration had arrived.
The Elon University women’s tennis team hosted North Carolina Central University at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center. The Phoenix came into the day having a whopping 10-0 record all-time against the Eagles. Elon was able to extend that record to 11-0 all-time with a 5-2 win in the team’s final regular season match.
Before the match, seniors Galvin and Julie Ball as well as graduate student Olivia Archer were honored in a ceremony with their teammates and loved ones. Each player walked onto the court as their achievements over the years were read off for the crowd to hear.
“It still feels like I'm a freshman,” Ball said. “It feels like last semester, I was like, ‘Oh, I just finished my freshman semester, and here I am.’ It felt surreal. It also feels a little scary being such an adult but it also felt great to see that I've been able to accomplish all these things and here I am about to do more.”
Ball is in her second year with the team after transferring to Elon from the University of Tennessee. Galvin, however, has been with the program for all four years of her college career.
“I just felt so humbled getting my accolades read back to me,” Galvin said. “It just made me think of everyone who got me to this point, my mom and my dad specifically. So I wasn't really thinking about me. I was like, ‘Wow, look at what people have poured into my life,’ and I'm just glad to use that to my full potential here at Elon.”
Archer has been with Ball and Galvin developing under head coach Elizabeth Anderson for the last few years. Both Archer and Anderson have had the opportunity to watch the two seniors grow in both their sport and in their character.
“I hope that we all take away an appreciation for having a coach like coach Anderson that developed us as people and as players,” Archer said. “As long as you're just leading by example, that's a little bit everybody can ask for.”
Archer did just that in today’s match. Playing at the No. 4 singles spot, she won her match 6-2, 6-3, giving the Phoenix a 2-0 lead after winning the doubles point.
Anderson said she was proud of the team for using this momentum to push themselves in their singles matches.
“They came out with a lot of energy in doubles, so that was really good,” Anderson said. “Throughout the rest of the day they competed hard and the biggest thing is just continuing that work, getting better and ready for the tournament and they definitely did that.”
Sophomore Miray Konar finished shortly behind Archer with a commanding performance leading her to victory 6-1, 6-0.
Ball played the role of moral support for her teammates in the singles matches, watching from the sidelines.
“I can only really provide a lot of emotional support,” Ball said. “I feel like as a teammate, that's sometimes what they might be able to lean on vice versa a coach, so I was just out there just telling everyone to play their best and get through the day.”
Anderson said she hopes that the graduating seniors took everything out of the experience as part of the team.
“I hope that they have really enjoyed competing and being a part of a team and they see this as one of the best experiences of their life,” Anderson said.
Sarikulaya finished her match with a win and clinched the match for the Phoenix. As two more matches were completed with wins for NC Central, all eyes fell yet again on court No. 6. Playing in the match tiebreaker was Galvin on the same court her teammate, Archer, broke the women’s singles wins program record March 31.
“I knew that she would win,” Archer said. “I knew that she would pull it out, but I think that it shows that your heart and your fight and your willingness to win is a lot better than talent.”
Galvin dominated the court in the tiebreaker, defeating her opponent 6-3, 4-6, 10-3.
“I felt great,” Galvin said. “I've been in that position before at conference, when it all comes down to your court, so luckily, it was a familiar feeling. I was like, ‘There's no better way to finish my career at Elon than have all my teammates there.’”
Elon finishes the regular season with a record of 15-6 and sets its sights on the Colonial Athletic Association women’s tennis tournament. The tournament will be hosted by William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and starts April 20.