Big Ten makes Goulet Player of the Week

By Derek Barichello

The big question for women’s tennis coming into the season was who would fill the shoes of last year’s top singles players Jennifer McGaffigan and Tiffany Eklov, who graduated. The answer so far has been senior Cynthya Goulet.

Goulet showed signs she could compete at the highest level last season, winning her final 15 singles matches at the No. 3 spot for the Illini.

This spring Goulet has been perfect. The No. 111-ranked Goulet is 5-0 playing at the No. 1 spot in the lineup. She has not dropped a single set all spring and has defeated three top-100 players in the process – No. 16 Karin Coetzee of Wake Forest, No. 57 Sabita Maharaj of Tennessee and No. 94 Lauren Fitzgerald of Hawaii.

The rest of the Big Ten has taken notice. Last week Goulet won Big Ten Player of the Week for the first time in her career.

Goulet is also one of the team’s top doubles players. She and sophomore teammate Emily Wang, who were formerly ranked No. 44 this fall, play as the Illini’s No. 1 team.

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Illini assistant coach JoAnne Russell said Goulet is one of the most talented players she has coached.

“In terms of playing a complete game, Cynthya has it all,” Russell said. “She can serve and volley, she can hit the big winners, she can play many styles of game. She has also become mentally tougher this year. The wonderful thing about coaching Cynthya is that when Plan A is not working, there is a Plan B and a Plan C you can turn to.”

Along with taking her game to the next level, Goulet has become one of the team’s leaders. Goulet said she has always led by example, but this season she has become more vocal.

“I realize being a senior that other people look up to me on this team,” Goulet said. “So far, there haven’t been any problems or anything, so I’m going to continue to do my best to lead the team.”

Not only is Goulet a leader on the court but off the court as well.

“Cynthya wants to do well and wants her team to have success,” Russell said. “She does a lot of things off the court that leads the team. She has a near 4.0 grade point average, and she gets along with her teammates well.”

Goulet said she plans on keeping tennis a big part of her life when she graduates.

“I would love to play professionally, that is my dream,” Goulet said. “I don’t know if I will or not. I will be at school here for another year, so I don’t know how much tennis I’ll get to play. Either way, I’d love to be with the team next year and help out any way I can.”