By Kathryn Gambill
Sports staff writer
Christin Louw’s first day of class at UNC Asheville was her first time at the university.
Louw, a junior management and economics student who plays on the women’s tennis team, is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa.
“I was shocked,” Louw said. “I had kind of like a stereotypical view of what an American university was going to be like and UNC Asheville is not like that.”
After receiving the majority of her education in a school just outside of London, Louw said she moved to America to continue her education.
Louw said one of the biggest shocks of coming to Asheville was how large the U.S. is.
“America’s just so different,” Louw said. “But I feel like America has so many differences within it wherever you go. It’s just so huge.”
The primary reason she came to UNCA was to play tennis, Louw said. She has been playing the sport since she was four years old and desired to continue playing while completing her degree in the U.S.
Louw said she really likes her coach, Lise Gregory, who she met through Louw’s father.
Coach Gregory, who has been coaching UNCA’s women’s tennis team for 11 years, said she and Louw’s father are both from South Africa and were good friends while attending the University of Miami.
Gregory said she recruited Louw to play for UNCA’s team.
“Chrissy contributes a lot to the team in terms of her tennis ability and her results,” Gregory said. “But I believe her greatest strength is that she’s a great team person, unselfish, caring, encouraging. Plus, she sets a good example with her work ethic in class and on the court.”
Louw has made great improvements, both mentally and physically, since her first year at UNCA, Gregory said. She is a starter in singles and doubles.
Her first season playing on the tennis team was nerve-wracking, Louw said. But now that she has gotten over the freshman jitters of being on the court, she enjoys herself a bit more
“It’s been really fun,” Louw said. “It’s been so different from junior tennis. It’s nice to be part of a team and stuff and obviously I really like UNC Asheville. It’s a really nice school. The people here are so friendly and obviously Asheville is beautiful.”
Louw said the whole tennis team practices together, motivating and encouraging each other. She said Coach Gregory is always there for the team.
“I feel like our team this semester is going to be really strong,” Louw said. “So I’m looking again to doing even better and just playing matches and having some fun.”
Madeline Finley, a junior new media and art student, began playing on the tennis team the same year as Louw.
“I remember as freshmen, even though we were the same age, I really looked up to her as a tennis player,” Finley said. “She’s confident on the court and one of the nicest players I’ve met.”
Louw is a reliable teammate who treats everyone with respect, Finley said.
“Off the court, Chrissy is not only a teammate but a friend to everyone on the team,” she said. “She’s mature when dealing with tough situations, while always being a good listening ear.”
She said she will always look up to Louw as both a teammate and a friend.
While she was looking at different universities, Louw said she is glad she ultimately chose to play tennis for UNCA.
She said she loves the Asheville area, going downtown and being on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
While she would not turn down the opportunity to travel some more, Louw said she plans on staying in America after graduating and wants to go to graduate school.
Louw said she felt homesick her first year at UNCA. But now, she has made a lot of close friends and being away from home is not as hard as it used to be.
The tennis team feels like one big family, Louw said.
“We’re all really close and everything,” she said. “It makes it a lot easier being away from home to have the team.”