April 10, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE - Freshman Rachel Pierson (Galveston, Texas) has made an immediate impact in singles and doubles for No. 4 Virginia (15-4, 9-1 ACC). Pierson and Julia Elbaba (Oyster Bay, N.Y.) are ranked No. 9 in doubles. Pierson is No. 59 in singles with a 12-5 dual record, including a 7-0 mark at No. 4.
Pierson recently visited with VirginiaSports.com to talk tennis and her first year at UVa.
Q: What were your goals entering your first year of college?
Rachel Pierson: "I really wanted to be in the top 50 in singles and doubles, and I wanted to improve both my tennis game and my academics. I chose Virginia because I thought it would challenge me and I could thrive in both areas. I want to develop a bigger game and more weapons to take me to the next level."
Q: What is the strength of your game and what are you working on improving?
RP: "I have gotten a lot better with my backhand and have been relying on that a lot. I've been working on my serve and my forehand, getting each of those bigger so I can use them as weapons when I need to."
Q: The team has won six straight matches, how far can you go this spring?
RP: "Hopefully all the way. I know if everyone plays well and stays tough, we have a good chance to beat anyone on the court on any given day."
Q: How has the transition been switching from No. 3 to No. 4 singles?
RP: "It's been really nice, I like it. I had a bit of a rough patch at No. 3, but I really like listening to coach [Troy] Porco and having a different perspective has been really helpful. No. 3 and No. 4 are often switched back and forth, so they require pretty similar toughness, but the pressure is not there for me. That's been a nice transition to kind of take a step back and start really enjoying it again."
Q: How do you like your classes and the UVa community?
RP: "I love the classes at UVa. They are really intense, but everyone is very motivated. I'm considering foreign affairs major. Charlottesville is a lot of fun and very social. I like when I can to go out with my friends."
Q: Besides tennis, do you have any favorite activities?
RP: "I really like dancing. My brother likes dancing, so I picked it up from him. He does hip-hop and I like doing it, too. I was in a dance production once, but it took up a lot of time away from tennis."
Q: Did you play other sports growing up and when did you decide to focus solely on tennis?
RP: "I played softball, volleyball and a lot of soccer growing up. I wasn't competitive or crazy about tennis when I was younger. My dad was a Division III collegiate tennis coach, so I would be dropped off everyday after school at the courts and after being around the environment I started playing. It became a family activity and we all bonded around tennis. I became pretty competitive when I moved to Princeton, N.J. when I was 11. I started entering tournaments and training in Philadelphia. I took tennis to another notch my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to train harder, so I moved to Austin, Texas for two years. I attended a tennis academy and was able to train with some really good coaches, and I loved it."
Q: How has your dad influenced your game?
RP: My dad is the director of the Cherry Valley Tennis Club in Princeton and tennis pro. I picked tennis up from him and my mom picked up tennis, too. She is playing everyday when she can. It's been nice to have my dad as a tennis coach, but we can have some conflicts, when the line between dad and coach becomes a little blurry. I appreciate every opportunity that he has given me."
Cavalier Football Notebook -- Virginia Tech WeekFootball11/24/15At noon Saturday, Virginia (4-7, 3-4) closes the season against Virginia Tech (5-6, 3-4) at Scott Stadium.'Hoos Hit Their Stride In CharlestonMen's Basketball11/23/15In winning the Charleston (S.C.) Classic, the Virginia men's basketball team posted an average margin of victory of 25.7 points.Johns Continues Late-Season SurgeFootball11/21/15A career day from quarterback Matt Johns helped Virginia defeated ACC rival Duke 42-34 in a Coastal Division game Saturday at Scott Stadium.
Director of News Content
A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
Virginia Adds Bleser, Favero, Gullickson With Signing Class
W. Tennis | 11/17/2015
Virginia added a trio of five-star athletes with the latest signing class as head coach Mark...
Collins Falls In Consolation Quarterfinals At NIIC
W. Tennis | 11/14/2015
Senior Danielle Collins fell in the quarterfinals of the consolation round of the ITA National...
Elbaba Falls In Quarterfinals Of National Indoor...
W. Tennis | 11/13/2015
Senior Julia Elbaba advanced to the quarterfinals of singles competition at the ITA National...
Cavaliers Split Action On Day One At ITA National Indoor...
W. Tennis | 11/12/2015
Julia Elbaba advances with a straight-set victory at the ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate...
Virginia Opens Play At ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate...
W. Tennis | 11/11/2015
Four members of the Virginia women's tennis team head to New York City to compete at the...
Cavaliers Close Kitty Harrison Invitational With Wins Over Rice
W. Tennis | 11/8/2015
The Virginia women's tennis team went 4-1 in singles action Sunday against the Rice Owls at the...
Virginia Closes Day Two At Kitty Harrison Fall Invitational
W. Tennis | 11/07/2015
Virginia split a pair of matches in doubles with UNC and defeated Maryland in singles play to...
Cavaliers Complete Day One At Kitty Harrison Fall Invitational
W. Tennis | 11/06/2015
Skylar Morton picked up a win over LSU's Skylar Kuykendall on Friday as Virginia opened...
- Online Stores