Barretta shows leadership on and off the court

tweet: Senior Emily Barretta displays leadership on and off the court

The Illinois women’s tennis team have had themselves an up and down Spring season so far. They are 5-6 overall and 0-1 in Big Ten play with some impressive wins over Virginia Tech and Wisconsin, but some tough losses to teams like Northwestern and Notre Dame. The one constant however has been the leadership of the team’s only senior, Emily Barretta.

Barretta finds herself with a team full of juniors, sophomores and freshmen, but no seniors. Yet, that doesn’t stop her from being a pivotal aspect in the locker room, as well as in the classroom.

“I think they definitely view me as a leader on the team,” Barretta said. “They’ll call me for rides and ask me for any help in school if they need it, so I’m definitely a good resource for them.”

Barretta went to New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois. There, she began excelling in tennis, finishing fourth in the state in doubles her sophomore year. Barretta saw many offers from schools around the country but she knew the University of Illinois would be the right choice.

“I came here for the accommodations for the academics, and of course the outstanding tennis that we have,” Barretta said. Barretta is also in the business school.

This year’s roster has gained three new freshmen: Ines Vias, Jaclyn Switkes and Daniela Pedraza Novak. Barretta believes she has found ways to bound with them despite the age difference.

“Pretty much anything has helped me bound with them, from car rides to tutoring hours, like we will go to Irwin (Academic Services center) together,” Barretta said. “I’m their upperclassman guidance. If they have a question they need to ask, I’m more than willing to answer it.”

Barretta also doesn’t view herself as the only upperclassmen leader, but sees her junior teammates as her counterparts.

While Barretta isn’t always participating in match play, she contributes to the team through her positive energy as well as hard work in practice.

“I’m just always trying to keep it positive. Sometimes we have up days and down days, like today on the track. So I just try to stay as positive as much as possible,” Barretta said.

Although there’s plenty of the Spring season left, Barretta’s career at Illinois is in its last stretch. Some of her most memorable moments might just be her teammates themselves.

“The team atmosphere has changed so much through my three and half years here, and I feel closest with this team, and through the ups and downs, we are such a tight knit group,” Barretta said.

@TimGriffy6