Kasia Treiber hones in on ‘aggressive game style’ ahead of sophomore season

Sophomore+Kasia+Treiber+prepares+to+hit+the+ball+during+her+singles+match+against+Rutgers+on+March+27.+Treiber+feels+more+confident+and+prepared+for+her+second+year+on+the+Illinois+women%E2%80%99s+tennis+team+compared+to+her+previous+season.+%0A

Sidney Malone

Sophomore Kasia Treiber prepares to hit the ball during her singles match against Rutgers on March 27. Treiber feels more confident and prepared for her second year on the Illinois women’s tennis team compared to her previous season.

By Conor Blount, Staff Writer

Illinois women’s tennis garnered a phenomenal 2021 freshman class, landing in-state five-star recruits Kasia Treiber and Megan Heuser, as well as four-star recruit Kida Ferrari from Alabama. Each of the three contributed greatly to Illinois’ success during the 2021–2022 season, where the team enjoyed their first winning record since 2018–2019.

Despite the success, Illinois was not selected for the NCAA tournament, as they found themselves tied for third place in the Big Ten with Wisconsin and Northwestern, with Northwestern ultimately being given a spot in the NCAA tournament ahead of Illinois.

As the Illini did not partake in the NCAA tournament, the highest stakes of their season were in the Big Ten tournament. Despite the loss in the second round to Wisconsin, a lot can be learned from Illinois’ first-round match where they defeated Iowa 4-3.

Illinois had claimed the doubles point, along with winning the first two singles points to earn a 3-0 lead before Iowa won three consecutive singles, placing all eyes on the final court. Although falling behind early, Treiber managed to climb back and clinch the match for Illinois, marking her seventh winning point of the season.

Ahead of her sophomore year, Treiber spoke on her mentality in moments of intense pressure, like what she faced against Iowa.

“In preseason and the fall I had opportunities to clinch and I’ve been in that situation before … so I definitely was a little bit used to that pressure and that feeling,” Treiber said. “But every time you’re in that situation I think no matter if I am a freshman or a senior it’s going to be nerve-racking … Just knowing how to win and having a mentality that’s strong enough to know that I am good enough to win is just the most important thing for me. I think it’s only going to get better and easier for me as years go on.”

Being able to overcome the pressure of intense scenarios like clinching games as a freshman is an impressive piece of Treiber’s game, and she seems primed for a leap next season as she is even more confident going into year two.

“I am definitely a little less nervous as I was freshman year… I was a little overwhelmed with not knowing what to expect,” Treiber said. “Now I’m pretty confident with my ability, what I am expected to do, and what our schedule is going to look like. I am excited and confident and that’s something that’s a little different from freshman year.”

Nervous play is something that won’t consistently win tennis matches. The success Treiber found in year one will only compound with more confidence and aggression, something she has been working hard to polish ahead of the fall season.

“I was working on having a more aggressive game style,” Treiber said. “That’s basically the thing I am working on going into this year too, not just this summer, so that was probably the biggest thing for me.”

As Treiber and the rest of Illinois women’s tennis look forward to next season, they are doing so with an extra edge of confidence, coming off their best season in years. With the experience gained in Treiber’s first year as an Illini, she will be one of the big reasons for the program’s continued success moving forward.

 

[email protected]