Mike Barrett, LSSULakers.com
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — It has been a marquee year for tennis at Lake Superior State University.
The men's team recently qualified for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time since 2011. However, the men's team was not the only team who made it back to the GLIAC Tournament this year.
This past fall, the women's tennis team also advanced to the conference tournament — making its first appearance since the 2011-12 season. The Lakers played to an 8-9 (4-5 GLIAC) record in the fall to earn the sixth seed in the tournament. Lake Superior State doubled its conference win total from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
Helping lead the charge was senior captain Tara Harvey, who played to a 7-7 overall record on the season in singles and a 9-8 record in doubles with freshman Nadege Koua. Harvey earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors after playing to a 5-4 doubles record and 4-5 singles record during the GLIAC regular season. She has been a captain each of the past three seasons.
Harvey, who is graduating with a degree in athletic training, was originally drawn to Lake Superior State by a desire to play collegiate tennis in the United States and by the athletic training program.
"I was looking to come over to the U.S. to play tennis and earn a college degree," said Harvey. "I heard from quite a few schools, but I really liked the team here. I am from a small town, so the small school and the athletic training program really appealed to me. The small classes were also a big factor for me."
Harvey says she has long had an interest in injuries and rehabilitating from them, which was a major reason she chose to study athletic training. She also enjoys the hands-on nature of the program and the experience of being able to work with athletic teams at LSSU.
"WhenI met with my advisor on my recruiting visit, I thought it sounded really appealing and the hands-on experience you get with athletic training is different from other majors," she said. "My junior year, I worked with hockey, volleyball, track and field and I had some off-campus rotations too," she remarked.
As a senior, Harvey chose to focus solely on working with men's basketball.
"During my senior year, I have been working with the men's basketball team. I have been their senior athletic training student."
On why she chose to work with basketball, Harvey said, "Back home we don't have basketball and I knew that I was going to get great experience with that team."
In late March, Harvey took the National Athletic Training Association (NATA) board examination — a requirement to become certified as an athletic trainer. While her results are not yet known, she is planning on returning to Scotland after graduation. "We don't have athletic training in the UK, so I would like to do sports physiotherapy, which is their equivalent."
The native of Duns, Scotland, has played at No. 1 doubles all four years with the Lakers, but has shifted around quite a bit in singles play, playing at No. 2 her freshman and junior years, No. 1 her sophomore campaign, and at No. 3 this past season.
Although she has played in the top doubles pairing the whole time at Lake Superior State, her partner has changed from year to year. Harvey has played with former Lakers Laura Valderrama, Sarah Awe and Macarena Bielsa, as well as current teammates Jenay Andrews and Koua.
This season was the most successful that Lake Superior State has had since Harvey joined the team. The Laker women's tennis team qualified for the GLIAC Tournament for the first time since 2011-12.The team finished in sixth place at the tournament, held in Midland, Michigan. For her efforts, Harvey was named an All-GLIAC Honorable Mentionfor the fourth time in her career.
"I am very proud of the team," said Harvey, on making the tournament. "With last year being so close to making the tournament, it is really nice to actually make it to the tournament and it was a new experience for the seniors who have never made it before."
As commencement approaches, Harvey reflected on her time at Lake Superior State as a student-athlete.
"I never thought I would enjoy and love my degree as much as I did," she said, "but I have really enjoyed studying athletic training and I think that has shown throughout my years here. With tennis, it was the new experiences and the amount of matches we get to play, as well as practice. It was always fun to be around a team because tennis is so individual, so being on a tennis team is slightly different. It was really, really good."
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