MVP of the Issue: Nicole Shavlik

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MVP of the Issue: Nicole Shavlik

Alex Marit

Alex Marit

Alex Marit

Shavlik hits a forehand against conference rival MSOE at the Howards Grove High School courts.

Danny Spatchek, Sports Editor

In her first season playing women’s tennis at Lakeland, Nicole Shavlik has proved that size doesn’t matter on the hard court, going 8-2 in her matches at No. 1 singles against oftentimes taller opponents.

The sophomore business management major from Two Rivers accredits her success so far this year to her positive mindset and strong backhand.

“My mental toughness is definitely the best part of my game,” Shavlik said. “When you play points you can always battle back in a game and you always have a chance to win the match.”

Shavlik didn’t start playing until she was in eighth grade.

“I didn’t want to wear a skirt,” Shavlik said, laughing at the memory. “I was kind of a tomboy and my mom said I could wear shorts instead. I didn’t have anything to do during that season, so I started playing tennis.”

The 5-3 sophomore with freshmen eligibility has started to focus more on tennis since coming to Lakeland.

“I love the competition that comes in matches. I played soccer and basketball in high school but I’m only playing tennis now and it’s a good feeling knowing that I’m (wait for updated record) now,” Shavlik said.

But Shavlik’s season hasn’t been without adversity. She lost 0-6, 0-6 to a taller, more experienced Concordia Wisconsin No. 1 and 0-6, 2-6 to Edgewood’s No.1.

Shavlik admitted that she had difficulties playing Concordia Wisconsin’s taller senior.

“I had trouble lobbing her when she was at the net,” Shavlik said. “When I serve I have to hit up higher on the ball so it can definitely be an advantage to be tall in tennis.”

Shavlik’s coach Leigh Cherveny is looking forward to seeing how Shavlik fares at the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament this weekend in Madison.

“Hopefully Nicole will be seeded well and make it to the semifinals and then she’ll probably meet the girl from either Concordia Wisconsin or Edgewood. Those girls are more experienced that she is and hit harder than her,” Cherveny said. “But Nicole does a great job playing points and tracking down balls. To win she’s going to need to hit shots with more pace, keep opponents to the back of the court, and finish at the net.”

The current top player in Cherveny’s suddenly revitalized women’s tennis program believes she can have success at the conference tournament and offered advice to aspiring tennis players.

“Never give up. A lot of points you go into deuce and you need to just keep battling, and that’s what makes the game so fun.”

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