All-American fuels high hopes for tennis team

Nearly all underclassmen, tennis team looks up to junior All-American for leadership


The women’s tennis team has placed at least one person on the All-American team every year since 1993. Photo courtesy of W&L Sports Info.

Alex Niemann

A young Generals women’s tennis team looks to make big waves this year, with All-American Brooke Donnelly at the helm.

Donnelly, ‘17, joins Mary Elizabeth Shutley, ‘16, as one of the team’s two captains and only upperclassmen. Though lacking in quantity, the two handily make up for it with quality.

Donnelly enters her junior season with a career singles record of 37-9, a doubles record of 40-7, and a slew of honors beyond even her All-American Team selection.

“Making the All-American Team was definitely exciting for me as an individual player,” Donnelly said. “But I think what I enjoyed most was the chance to go to nationals with some of my teammates and the awesome season that we had as a team last year.”

This team-first mentality will be an important quality for Donnelly and Shutley to carry with them this season, as the remainder of the team is entirely comprised of underclassmen, making upperclassmen leadership all the more crucial. Indeed, of the team’s ten players, five of them are first-years with very little competitive collegiate experience.

Donnelly is far from pessimistic about her team’s chances, however.

“With over half our players being freshmen, we are a young team, but that just means we have a lot of energy and are excited to show everyone what we are capable of,” Donnelly said. ctations received some validation in the fall when the Generals competed in the USTA-ITA Southeast Regional Championships. In the championship singles draw, Donnelly, Emily Kochard, ‘18, Rachel Hicks, ‘19, and DeeDee Aeschliman, ‘19, all advanced to the semifinals of their brackets. Donnelly also advanced to the semifinals of the championship doubles draw alongside teammate Tessa Hill, ‘19.

For the team, carrying the momentum and level of play from those preseason tests will be critical for its success this year.

“We graduated quite a few starters from our lineup last year. We do not know what the lineup for this season will look like yet, but pretty much everyone will be playing in a different position than what they are used to,” Donnelly said.

Though Donnelly hopes to return to the singles national tournament, her goals are more team oriented this season.

“We want to win ODACs again this year and want to win regionals to move on to the final rounds of the NCAA tournament at the end of the season,” Donnelly said.