By Tina Scruggs – firstname.lastname@example.org – Multimedia and Layout Editor
Amryn Soldier works hard to balance school, her social life and athletics going into a busy spring tennis season.
According to Soldier, a UNC Asheville junior, the girls’ team has nine people this year, which is actually somewhat large. There needs to be at least six girls to be a team. Soldier considers the large size of the team a good thing, because it means people are interested in playing for UNCA.
“We have some awesome new freshman that are really hard working and I think they have a lot of good talent. It’s going to be good. It’s nice having new blood on the team,” Soldier said.
The team feels bigger and stronger to Soldier, who said the new energy is great. Within the past year, only one new freshman joined the team. Though they did well last year, Soldier said she thinks the team functions better together now.
“We’re all just dealing with being a team really well, which is refreshing,” Soldier said. “I’ve had both sides, so I know what it’s like to have a not so great team dynamic and then to have a really good one and you appreciate it a lot more.”
This semester the team won many of their flights, which are a series of matches, according to Soldier.
“We all did really well, we won our flights, or won our backdrop flights, and then me and my doubles partner won our doubles flight, so yeah we’re doing really well,” she said.
The tournaments were away with six or seven different schools, according to Soldier. Soldier said Wafford was the best for her.
“It was just like a match where finally all the stuff that I’d been working on kind of clicked and I was like, ‘light bulb,’ and then during the match I figured it out and I finally won. It’s a match that maybe a couple months ago I might have lost,” said the Georgia native.
According to Soldier, at the college level there is less focus on strokes and more emphasis placed on learning how to use your skill set to win matches.
“There’s a lot of like maturity in tennis – it’s a very mental game. After a certain point you kind of know how to hit your strokes, it’s like muscle memory, but it’s so mental because it’s such an individual sport, but at the same time in college it’s a team sport so it’s kind of confusing,” Soldier said.
Soldier said she thinks being an athlete in college shaped her social experience.
“I saw playing tennis as something to enhance my college experience,” Soldier said. “I think for me it was more of a college thing, but I’d like to keep playing recreationally afterwards.”
Soldier, a photography student, said she one day hopes to have her own portrait studio, though recently she has gotten into ceramics.
“I’ve been doing both of them for so long it’s kind of hard to choose. And sometimes you do have to choose and I hate making decisions like that because it’s like you’re sacrificing one over the other,” Soldier said.
Soldier said she has thoroughly enjoyed her time at UNCA and the community it provides to her, though she wishes there were more faculty to share their wisdom.
“I think the professors here are really awesome. I just wish that there were more classes more specific to what I want to do. I think that there should be more faculty. I’d like to learn from a lot of different people, and the school is so small I haven’t really gotten to do that,” Soldier said.