Matador Minute with Women's Tennis Head Coach Gary Victor.
Oct. 11, 2010
Having competed in two fall tournaments, what do you expect from the fall season?
"I look at the fall season as a chance for our players to understand and solidify their game style. We use the fall season to set up a high base level of fitness for our team, so that come spring, we will be able to push through those tough third sets. These tournaments in the fall lay the groundwork so that we can maintain a high level of play throughout matches. Since I got to Northridge, we tend to have better spring campaigns than fall. Of course, the spring is the official season for NCAA tennis, so the results in the fall don't tend to matter as much."
What else is the team doing in fall to prepare for the spring season?
"I really want to credit our strength coach at CSUN, Daniel Kohn, for all the hard work he puts in with the team. He has them coming in early in the morning, working on their fitness levels and that is having a positive impact on our team."
What do you like so far about your team through two tournaments?
"I really like that we are already playing as a team, being there to support each other. I think this group is a team in the truest sense of the word. We like to play for each other and everyone likes to do their best to fight for the team. Whereas the fall campaign tends to focus more on individual play, the spring is all about the team and that's what I love about this group of Matadors."
Any individuals catch your eye with their play?
"Although I don't necessarily want to single any one person out through two tournaments, I am definitely excited. Maria Pistalu is playing very well, though she ran into some arm injuries following two wins at Cal State Fullerton. Nina Jaworowski and Anna Yang have worked very hard to get into great shape and that's already paying off so far. Brooke Doane played very sharp at the tournament in San Diego. Nigora Sirojiddinova is off to a slower start than she might like, but that's the great thing about the fall season. It will allow someone like Nigora to get ready for spring and be a stronger player. Sabrina Man-Son-Hing has already had a positive influence on our team and she is a very strong doubles player. Finally, Ryma Korab has brought her level of play up and is beginning to see herself as not only a member of a nationally ranked women's tennis team, but a contributor."
What's it like to see Brooke Doane and Nina Jaworowski lead the team as your seniors?
"One of my favorite parts about being a coach is to see the growth and development of our student-athletes, from freshmen to graduation and beyond. They grow as people and leaders in their time on campus and that is certainly the case with our two seniors. Brooke is a vocal leader while Nina tends to lead by example. It's fun to see and they are key to the integration of our new student- athletes. Our cohesion as team is improved and that is a testament to the leadership they possess.
Aside from the Matadors, what else did you do this summer?
"The San Fernando Valley repeated as the Southern California CTC Champions. We defeated teams from San Diego, Orange County and Ventura/Santa Barbara. I also coached a Southern California team to the U-14 Zonals, which were held at the Air Force Academy. Although we lost in the finals, we defeated several quality opponents from throughout the state of California at the event.
What were your thoughts on the epic Wimbledon match between John Isner and Nicolas Mahut?
"Serving is obviously the biggest weapon in men's tennis. It was an unprecedented event and both guys were warriors to maintain their focus for over 10 hours of action. I'd played in some tough four-hour matches in college where we went to tiebreakers in each set, but nothing even close to what those two did."
What are your thoughts on the upcoming Matador Invitational?
"We're going to have a great line-up of teams coming to the San Fernando Valley, including Arizona, Boise State, Pepperdine, Montana, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton. We'll also be joined by some good non-Division I programs and I think it's a fun event where we let everyone play as many matches as they'd like. I also think it is a great way to close out the fall season, giving both the coaches and players the chance to evaluate where they're at in terms of play. There is no better way to evaluate where you are as a coach or player than by lining up and playing with some of the best."