April 18, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE - Senior Caryssa Peretz (Cherry Hill, N.J.) has helped No. 9 Virginia to a 17-4 overall record and school-best 11-1 mark in the ACC. The Cavaliers have won a school-best eight consecutive matches heading into today's match at Florida State. Peretz has posted a 13-6 singles record, including a perfect 6-0 dual mark at Nos. 5 and 6.
Peretz recently visited with VirginiaSports.com to talk tennis and her final year at UVa.
Q: Entering your final year, what were your expectations for the team?
Caryssa Peretz: "We always have high expectations and standards for the team. This year I knew we had really strong group. So, obviously, the bar was raised very high. I think we have met a lot of those expectations and goals. At this point in the season all we can do is keep driving."
Q: Sitting near the top of the ACC Standings, how is the team staying motivated?
CP: "We have haven't had as successful of a season as this year during my career, so we are really excited about that. The ACC is one of the strongest conferences, so we are really happy to be at the top of the rankings. We all know we are competing for the regular season ACC title. We really want to go out with a bang and finish strong."
Q: What are the team goals for the NCAA Tournament?
CP: "We have never made it past the round of 16, so we are really striving to get deep in the NCAA Tournament. I think the sky is the limit for this team. We are a young group, but we are really talented, driven and motivated."
Q: Can you describe any differences in the teams you have been a part of over your four years at UVa?
CP: "Overall, the level of talent in all of the ACC schools has increased. Ours in particular, we are one of the strongest teams in the country right now. Our group has always been hard working, but the talent across the board has risen."
Q: How has your game changed as you have gotten older and gained collegiate experience?
CP: "Most college players who come in from juniors don't have a chance to improve their game over their four years. I feel lucky that my game has gotten better and we have two great coaches and my teammates help push me. I am really happy with how my game has improved."
Q: How have you stayed prepared to play when called upon?
CP: "One of my jobs is to always stay ready. Coach says that we are not one through six, but we are one through eight deep. I was always working hard and never getting down. I was just staying prepared and in shape and always doing extra work to be ready. Now that I'm in the lineup more consistently, I going to do my best and make the most of the opportunity."
Q: Do you see yourself as a mentor for the younger girls on the team?
CP: "It's nice to have the younger girls look up to me and see me as a guide or mentor. But, I also look up to a lot of them. Most of them are just as skilled if not more talented then me on the court, so we learn a lot from each other."
Q: Off the court, are you involved in any student clubs or organizations?
CP: "I'm involved in a few student-athlete organizations. I have been a part of SAM (Student-Athlete Mentors) and SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) for the past few years."
Q: What are the challenges as a student-athlete at UVa?
CP: "It's difficult to juggle academics and athletics when you're a student-athlete at Virginia. I have done really well academically taking rigorous work loads throughout my four years, which is another reason why I think some of the younger girls can look up to me. In tennis, you are always going to have obstacles and hurdles to overcome, especially being in and out of the lineup. I've learned to not let down and keep working hard."
Q: Have you had any work experiences and what are your plans after graduation?
CP: The past summer I worked for the Washington Nationals and it was really cool experience. I was working with the corporate partnership team, so I was working with the sponsors, the stadium and the team. It was a really cool atmosphere to work in, getting to go on the field every day, watching batting practice and getting to know the players. And after graduation, I have a job lined up in Boston in internal sales with Oracle Corporation.