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Friday, July 23, 2021

Sports

Behind the motivation of two of UH tennis leaders


UH tennis freshman Blanca Cortijo Parreno prepares for a serve during a match in the 2021 season. | Courtesy of UH athletics

UH tennis freshman Blanca Cortijo Parreno prepares for a serve during a match in the 2021 season. | Courtesy of UH athletics

The Houston tennis team is on fire after posting its third consecutive win of the year by a combined score of 12-1, which included two 4-0 shutouts.

Much of this success was owed to sophomore Azul Pedemonti and freshman Blanca Cortijo Parreno, neither of which has lost a match since Jan. 18.

The two have combined to go 16-0 in singles, 8-1 in doubles when paired together, and now have 12 straight set wins, putting the UH tennis team in a position to make a statement on Friday against Baylor.

The Cougars saw their season cut short last year along with the fall season postponed all due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to just be able to play has been the key for the two.

“We have (had) a lot of opportunities to play,” Pedemonti said Thursday before the team left for Baylor. “A lot of the universities haven’t had that, just the ability to play motivates us.”

Despite the adversity though, the two have still found a way to shine through.

“It has been tough, the situation doesn’t help,” Parreno said. “We are fighting for our goals, we practice hard for our matches to make sure we feel the best on the court when we can play”

Pedemonti currently sits with a 10-1 overall record. She and Cortijo both have hit the 10-win milestone and makeup 37 percent of the Cougars’ total match wins.

“We are prepared to play, we just need to keep a working heart and enjoy the game,” Parreno said.

UH tennis head coach Helena Besovic believes the two athletes’ success stems from the team itself.

“I am very proud of them, they are doing a great job in practice working and competing hard,” Besovic said. “It’s the whole team, everyone is very supportive of each other.”

She mentioned the pandemic as a big motivator as well, especially after not being able to compete in the fall.

“This is what we live for, this is what we work for, now we have our chance and I think that is what they’re feeling on the team,” Besovic said.

The Cougars currently sit at 10-3 on the season and are traveling to Waco to take on No.7 Baylor on Friday. The match against Baylor will be a test as Besovic put it and will be a chance for the Cougars to prove themselves.

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