Assistant Sports Editor
When she is not schooling her friends at Guitar Hero, Andrea Madrigal is dominating on the tennis court.
Madrigal, who graduated from South Hills High School in West Covina, came to the University La Verne because it is a smaller school and she is able to play tennis.
It is a sport that she did not grow up playing much.
“I used to play soccer actually,” Madrigal said. “But in one game I was thrown and broke my arm and my mom told me I couldn’t play a contact sport. So I started playing tennis when I was 13.”
She said she enjoys tennis because of the sense of accomplishment that comes with the sport.
During the regular season, she had an overall singles record of 18-2, which also included matches against 13 nationally ranked opponents.
“In singles, you feel proud of yourself because you did it on your own,” Madrigal said. “With doubles it’s different, but you still have to work just as hard with your partner.”
Sophomore Megan Soucy was Madrigal’s doubles partner at the beginning of the season.
“It was really fun being in doubles with her because we’re so close,” Soucy said. “She’s such a great player and I knew I could always count on her.”
The duo were partners for five matches, with two wins and three losses.
“My favorite thing about her would be how driven and team oriented she is,” Soucy said. “I like that she’s super down to earth and cares more about the team than herself.”
With all her accomplishments this season, Madrigal became the first Leopard to win the Intercollegiate Tennis Association West Regional Championship in the fall.
She also earned ITA All-American status.
“It feels good that all my hard work is paying off,” Madrigal said.
She then took sixth place at the United States Tennis Association/ITA National Small College Championships held in Fort Myers, Fla.
“As a player, Andrea makes the game look effortless,” freshman teammate Lauren Torres said. “She’s a magnificent player and an even better teammate.”
Madrigal was selected to compete in the 2014 NCAA Division III Individual Women’s Tennis Championships.
“It was cool because last year I was an alternate,” Madrigal said. “It’s nice that I legit made it this year, giving me another chance to compete.”
She made her first ever appearance at the championships, held at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont.
Madrigal faced Massachusetts Institute of Technology freshman Elysa Kohrs in the first round, losing 2-0.
The championships will continue today and tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center in Claremont.
Madrigal was also named the 2014 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Year.
The Leopards played their last match Saturday, getting eliminated from the NCAA Regional semifinal by Pomona-Pitzer, 5-2.
Madrigal and her new doubles partner, freshman Bridget Etchegaray, had a 6-5 lead but did not keep up and eventually lost, 8-6.
Despite the doubles loss, Madrigal won her singles match against sophomore Mae Coyiuto, 6-2, 6-1.
But Pomona-Pitzer sealed the team win on the other side of the court.
“Overall, the tennis season has been super good,” Madrigal said. “In comparison with last year, we burst through my expectation.”
The Leopards finished its best season with an overall record of 16-6 and a No. 2 spot in the SCIAC.
“We may seem short and tiny as a team but we came out and placed second,” Madrigal said.
Teammates not only enjoy Madrigal’s spirit and motivation on the court, but also her friendship off the court.
“Dre is someone that will work hard, even if she doesn’t want too,” junior teammate Shenelle Trujillo said. “She’s always encouraging everyone during practice and games.”
Being the upbeat and positive person she is on and off the court, Madrigal likes to just put down that tennis racquet at relax.
“I like drawing and art a lot,” Madrigal said. “It is definitely a big stress reliever.”
If she is not drawing, she is planning a trip to Spain, hopefully soon.
“I want to travel and go to Spain,” Madrigal said. “I’d meet Rafael Nadal and we’d fall in love.”
But before that, she will have to stay in the United States and serve up for next season with her Leopard teammates.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.