NCAA Tennis Championships diary with Maggie Mello
May 13, 2011
We had a chance to play South Florida again after playing them earlier this year and also at the NCAA Championships when I was a freshman. USF has a tough team, and we were not going to take them lightly. We came out strong and focused, knowing we needed to take care of business in order to get through today. We executed well. Being a senior, I wanted to step up today, play my game and go out strong as much as I could. It was definitely a good day.
We were pumped up today in doubles. Juliana Gajic and I changed our look and switched sides in doubles. I played the “ad” side, and she played the “deuce.” It gave us a fresh start. We were focused and we were able to find holes. We just fed off of each other really well. It was a good team effort for both of us. Juliana is one of our freshmen, and it’s fun to watch our freshmen at UT. They are truly Texas Longhorns out there. When I leave, it will be good for me to know they will carry on the tradition of “Texas Fight.”
(Freshman) Cierra Gaytan-Leach has that fighting spirit and a refuse-to-lose attitude. She goes out there and works for every single point in doubles and singles. She is one of the most determined people I have met, and I always wanted her to come to Texas. I knew she would fit right in. She has caught fire and has had some huge wins. The lower part of the lineup is sometimes the most important part. We need it to be solid. Cierra has helped bring us where we need to be, and she is one of the most solid No. 6 singles players in the country. I’m really proud of her.
Juliana has had some great singles wins. We knew we would have a solid No. 5 spot when she got here. She dominated at the beginning of the season, and in doubles, we have just clicked. I love her fighting spirit, like Cierra’s. She goes out there and never gives up. Juliana has that mentality we look for at Texas. It’s great to know these girls will be here for the years to come and know they will step it up for the next couple of years. Juliana has been a huge part of our team this season, and she was super-solid again today.
We really want to get the chance to go to Stanford next week for the Sweet 16, but we have to go through Miami first, and that will not be easy. I’ve dreamed of going to play the NCAA Championships at Stanford. Having this opportunity and knowing it’s so close is really exciting. Our team is where it needs to be and is right on the edge of having a breakthrough. We are excited to get out there and play on Saturday. As a senior, it’s that much more exciting, and I’m not ready to be finished with my college career. We will leave it all out on the court. We want to put Texas where we need to be: in the Sweet 16 and beyond.