Story by Emily Gregor
Photo by Taylor Soule
Drake women’s tennis welcomed five freshmen in 2012. Five new faces, five new styles of play, five new personalities, five new tennis backgrounds. Though two 2012-13 Bulldog freshmen hail from Europe and three from the U.S., the five have formed a bond anchored in a love of the game and a love of the team. The Times-Delphic sat down with freshmen Jordan Eggleston, Lea Kozulic, Maddie Johnson, Evy Van Genechten and Mariel Ante to discuss their transitions to life at Drake, their laughter-filled bond, and their tennis idols.
Times-Delphic: How were your transitions to Drake University?
Jordan Eggleston: It was really good, I thought. It was great being myself and being able to have responsibility for everything I do. I thought it was really great being a part of the team. I had to get used to the cold. I was so used the warmth and the palm trees. Everyone in Iowa is so nice.
Lea Kozulic: My transition was really hard because I was really close to my family and friends, and life here is very different than life in Europe.
Maddie Johnson: Obviously, the transition to college is hard, but I think being on the team really made it easier because you come here, and you already have eight friends. Being on the team really helps. It was hard to get used to being away from my parents and my dog.
Evy Van Genechten: If she gets to say her dog, I say my dog too. My transition went really great, as far as the team. I expected everyone to be just like this. Also, the people already on the team did a great job making everyone feel comfortable.
Mariel Ante: For me, it was sort of a big change. I thought it was pretty scary at first, but it was just managing time and being able to prioritize things and just work well with everyone else.
TD: How would you describe your bond as a freshman class?
JE: We get along very well. We make each other laugh, and it’s fun learning from the girls who are foreign because you can learn about their culture. We are always there for each other, and we always help each other out.
LK: We all have different personalities, but that’s a good thing because we all learn from each other. We definitely have someone else who is going through the same things we are.
MJ: I think our bond is very good. We all have different personalities. We all mesh well, and we all bring something different to the team. It’s nice having four other freshmen with you because you’re not doing everything alone.
MA: We are pretty different in so many ways, but we can have fun with just about anything, and we do the weirdest things together, and we laugh at the same things. We complain about the same things.
EVG: We just as a team feel pretty good. I think just we can just hangout as a team without even having to play tennis.
TD: What are your goals as a team over the next three years?
All: Winning the MVC.
TD: What are your individual goals?
JE: I want a house on the beach in California, and I want to travel the world, everywhere and go to the Olympics. I’d also like to be a college tennis coach.
LK: My current goal is to get my college degree and help Drake tennis get the MVC conference title.
MJ: My goal is to be happy in life. I want to graduate with a good GPA, and I’d like to travel. I’ve never been out of the country. Europe, England, France, Belgium, just to experience their cultures, pretty much anywhere.
MA: Academic-wise, I want to graduate, at least, maybe go to medical school. Tennis wise, we’ll see where it goes. I want to get married … have some kids … I want a pug.
EVG: I just want to play in more international tournaments.
TD: What is your favorite part about playing tennis?
JE: Scholarships, free tennis clothes.
LK: My favorite part is winning. You’re developing as a person.
MJ: It’s really tough physically and mentally. You make friends, and I think tennis is a great sport. It’s one of the hardest ones out there.
All: The grunts.
MA: Whacking the ball. The cheers. Doing crazy shots.
EVG: Just the competition, the adrenaline.
TD: Who’s your favorite professional tennis player?
JE: John Isner.
LK: Goran Ivanisevic.
MJ: Roger Federer.
MA: I love Novak Djokovic.
EVG: Of course, my idols are Kim Clijsters and Justin Henin.