Injuries have riddled the Fresno State women’s tennis team this season, but it is still finding ways to win dual matches.
Led by three seniors, the `Dogs are 4-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play.
Melissa McQueen, one of those seniors, is known on the team for her leadership.
She competes in singles and doubles, but due to injury, has seen a cycle of partners this season.
“The other seniors and I are trying to get the freshmen to learn really quickly in doubles and those pressure moments,” McQueen said. “We’ve had a lot (of them) this semester.”
McQueen began her tennis career when she was 8 years old.
“My uncle, who taught himself how to play tennis, wanted to pass the game to somebody else in the family,” McQueen said. “I was that person. It was a completely random thing.Nobody I knew played tennis.”
McQueen is a Canadian native who made her decision on where to take her skills based on that.
“There were some other colleges in the mix, but in the end, I decided that the coach was a really good fit because, at the time, the coach was Canadian and knew about me, and there was another Canadian girl on the team that I had known,” she said. “I felt like it would be an easy transition.”
Besides the chemistry with the Fresno State tennis team, she said the California weather compared to the East Coast weather made her decision much easier.
Before making the move to Fresno, McQueen was ranked No. 1 under 18 and under 16 singles in Ontario, Canada.
Fresno State coach Ryan Stotland believes that McQueen is a capable leader who has worked well with freshman Rana Sherif Ahmed in doubles play.
“They are on the same page on every single point,” Stotland said. “That’s why they have won every single match. They listen really closely and intently to what they have to do.”
In the last two matches against San Francisco and Santa Clara, McQueen has been partnered with Ahmed.
The pair is unbeaten. They will be playing together this weekend against Arizona and Arizona State and hope to carry the momentum that has helped them remain unbeaten.
“These are really big teams that we want to beat,” McQueen said.
She said she is definitely the aggressive player on the court.
“I don’t usually like to be the person on defense or waiting for something to happen,” McQueen said.
“I want to take it to my opponent and make them feel the pressure.”
Tennis didn’t always come natural for McQueen. She said that some players mature faster than others and she definitely matured later.
“I feel like [tennis] is one of the harder sports to learn and be good at immediately because you have to learn so much,” she said.
The women’s tennis team is currently ranked 52nd in Intercollegiate Tennis Association and hopes to move up with victories in Arizona.
Both upcoming matches feature teams ranked 33rd or higher in the nation.
Coming Home: The Fresno State women’s tennis team hosts its first match of the spring season on Friday, Feb. 22 against Sacramento State at 1 p.m. at the Wathen Tennis Center.