Barretta thriving as Illinois women's tennis' lone senior
March 9, 2016
The Illini are 5-6 overall and 0-1 in Big Ten play — they have wins over Virginia Tech and Wisconsin, but have lost to teams like Northwestern and Notre Damemp.
The team’s lone senior, Emily Barrettamp, has been there for all of the ups and downs.
Barretta finds herself a part of a team full of juniors, sophomores and freshmen, but no seniors — leaving the door open for her to step into a pivotal role in both the locker room and 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 showing up on college coaches’ radars, finishing fourth in the state in doubles her sophomore year. Barretta received many offers from schools around the country, but knew Illinois was the right choice.
“I came here for the accommodations, for the academics, and of course the outstanding tennis that we have,” Barretta, who is graduating from the College of Business this spring, said.
This year’s roster has three freshmen: Ines Vias, Jaclyn Switkes and Daniela Pedraza Novakmp. Barretta believes she has found ways to bound with them despite the age difference.
“Pretty much anything has helped me bond 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 does not 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 and hard work in practice.
“I’m just always trying to keep it positive,” Barretta said. “Sometimes we have up days and down days. So I just try to stay positive as much as possible.”
Although there’s plenty of the spring season left, Barretta’s career at Illinois is in its home stretch. And her most memorable moments involve her teammates.
“The team atmosphere has changed so much through my three-and-a-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.