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The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

All-American Lauryn Douglas competes in ITA Cup national tournament

Q&A with Head Tennis Coach Drew Fernelius as sophomore Lauryn Douglas competes in Georgia at nationals.
Photo submitted by Austin Otier

After winning the singles final the weekend of Sept. 25 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cup Tournament, Lauryn Douglas became the second woman in Bethel tennis history to win the singles draw. Her victory in the finals earned her the title of All-American, and her win in the semifinal earned Douglas a spot in the National ITA Tournament in Rome, Georgia, is competing Thursday through Sunday. 

Q: What did preparation for the nationals look like for Lauryn? 

A: The preparation didn’t really change for Lauryn. After winning the regional [tournament] she simply went back to work — working out on her own every day, lifting, eating healthy and getting as much practice time on the court as her workload in school and the weather allow. 

Q: What does she do well on the court that got her to where she is today?

A: Lauryn plays an aggressive ground-stroke game from the baseline. She fights for every point, puts the bad ones in the rearview mirror and trusts the work she has put in will pay off. Lauryn has improved every element of her game since last year, especially her serve, forehand and fitness.  

Q: What do you expect from her at nationals?

A: The competition is unbelievable but I expect that Lauryn will play with all her heart and do her best. We talk about the fact that sometimes winning and losing are beyond your control — the only things we can control are our effort and attitude, and I expect Lauryn will continue to make us all proud in both those areas. 

Q: Has anything surprised you along the way?

A: Lauryn was seeded no. 19 in a field of 96 really good players. She defeated quality player after quality player to win the regional tournament. I saw the work she put in and believed she’d do great, but win it all? No, I didn’t see that one coming. 

Q: How does her being only a sophomore, and the second woman in Bethel’s history to win the singles draw, affect the team’s dynamic and the future of the program as a whole?

A: The notoriety definitely shines a little light on our team and Lauryn, but ultimately I believe our team will remain the same– committed to taking each day one day at a time, working as hard as we can (Col 3:23), trying to get a little better every day and be the light (Matt 5:16) that God calls us to be on and off the court! 

Douglas lost her first match Thursday in two sets  6-1, 6-2. She was scheduled to play again Friday at 9 a.m. but the results of the match were unknown at the time of publication.

This interview was edited for brevity and clarity.

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