GREENSBORO-Sophomore Victorea Austin is a competitor.
That's probably the one thing that North Carolina A&T women's tennis head coach James Dunwoody mentions the most about Austin-her fighting spirit and passion to play. It's that fire which keeps Austin invested in becoming a better player.
"What drew me to tennis was an after school activity. You know when you're young, your mom puts you into every single sport. I was in tennis, volleyball, track, softball, I did the whole nine," Austin said. "But then I just really stuck with tennis. I'm the only person in my family that plays tennis. I just stuck with tennis because I like it. I am passionate about it, so it makes me work even harder on the court."
Austin's attitude and drive helped the Louisville, Ky., native and sociology major secure a starting spot in the singles lineup for 2012 tennis team.
Austin will be looking to continue adding to her wins this weekend, as the Aggies take on Shaw Friday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m., and East Carolina on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. Both matches will be held at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center (21 Oak Branch #B, Greensboro, N.C.).
Austin, who won the team's Most Improved award in 2011, has stepped up this spring. She leads the team in singles wins-winning each of her last two singles matches in the contests at Savannah State and Davidson. She is 2-2 in singles play this season, with one start at the No. 3 position. Both of her wins have come at the No. 6 spot.
Before the season began, Austin was not expected to start, and that was not what she wanted to hear.
"She's not accepting not being in the starting lineup. She gets pretty salty," said Dunwoody in early January. "She wants to be in the starting lineup and she's not going to stop until she gets it. That's the kind of individuals I want on the team, I want people who want to play."
Austin soon got her spot in the starting six. She made it into the starting lineup in the first match of the season, and again in the last three matches due to injuries to junior Nianna Henry.
"I had to prove myself, that I belonged in the starting lineup. I know how to play the game, I know how to work my point, I know how to win matches," Austin said. "So when I heard I wasn't going to be in the starting six, I was like, 'That's not going to happen.'"
Austin will be looking to continue winning against Shaw and ECU this weekend.
"I'm definitely going to be working on my deep balls and being more consistent...and just being mentally tough with these matches," she said. "Shaw is definitely one of the matches that we need to have, it was in the top 10 matches that we needed to win. We already beat our first top 10, which is Savannah State. If we beat Shaw, we're going to be ready for the next teams to come."