Centerpiece of a dynasty

Juan Villa / Collegian File Photo

Since 2005, senior Melanie Gloria has built an impressive resume with her work on the tennis court.

The Montreal native has won conference titles, International Tennis Association (ITA) championships, has defeated nationally ranked opponents and is also an NCAA All-American.

At the beginning of this tennis season, Gloria was ranked No.1 in the doubles category along with Tinesta Rowe. She won the ITA Northwest Regional singles title with a 5-0 record. Gloria’s play earned her a selection to the ITA All-American tournament, where she reached the semifinals of the consolation bracket.

Gloria earned 11 wins in 2008, which improved her career total victories at Fresno State to 98.

Her victories against ranked opponents include No.7 Marina Cossou of Cal-Berkeley in the Fall of 2008, No.4 Ani Mijacika of Clemson during the Spring of 2008, and No.1 Audra Cohen of Miami at the ITA All-American tournament in 2006.

She is a two-time NCAA All-American. She also has won three WAC Player of the Year titles and earned All-WAC first team honors in singles and doubles.

She has helped her team reach the WAC team championships and NCAA team championships. In 2007-08, she reached the NCAA finals with Tinesta Rowe in the doubles bracket.

Gloria began her Bulldog tennis career as the WAC Freshman of the Year in 2006 and an NCAA singles participant. She finished the year ranked No.23 that season.

Prior to Fresno State, she was a four-time Canadian junior champion in both singles and doubles.

With all the accomplishments on the tennis court, Gloria actually doesn’t have one moment that sticks out to her. If anything, it was what she experienced her freshman year.

“I’m sure every moment [sticks out for me],” Gloria said. “For sure, going to Sweet Sixteen was a great experience, especially as a freshman. We were hosting [the NCAA tournament] and we played Cal-Berkeley. We won and they were ranked 11th.”

Gloria spends her time at the Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center playing close to the net, chasing down tennis balls, and ensuring that the she’s in a good position to score on her competition.

She’ll admit that there is really no secret to her success on the court.

“I think just its work ethic,” Gloria said. “In tennis, we’re playing as a team but its really an individual game. You really need to be focused and work hard on the court. I still have little things to improve on but I think I’m doing good.”

Her head coach, Simon Thibodeau, feels that consistency has played a strong role in Gloria’s play.

“She’s been pretty consistent for all four years,” Thibodeau said. “She’s had four solid years. She has improved a lot of her doubles skills, she’s always been a strong singles player. I think she’s playing a little bit more smarter but she has a good work ethic. She works hard and we know what to expect out of her.”

Most recently, Gloria helped guide her team to an astonishing eighth straight WAC title.

“It was awesome,” Gloria said. “It was just really fun especially this year, because we were pretty close with Boise State in the final and we weren’t really expecting that. But I think we’re just really happy that we made the tournament and won.”

The conference title has now given Gloria more goals to achieve, as she continues to build her tennis resume.

“Win NCAAs,” Gloria said. “It’s my last year. I’m a senior and as a team, I think we can go farther than Sweet Sixteen this year. Probably go Elite Eight, or Final Four and even farther would be awesome.

Hopefully, I can do better than the last year at the NCAA in both singles and doubles and try to get a title.”

Gloria and the Bulldogs will be traveling to Illinois to host the NCAA Tournament later this week. Check back on Friday for more women’s tennis coverage.

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