Following thrilling comebacks in their doubles and singles matches, three members of the NYU women’s tennis team advanced to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Oracle Cup National Championships.
In the ITA Northeast Regional Championships late last month, Stern junior Anna Maria Buraya and LS first-year Anastasiia Balyk won their championship doubles match in dramatic fashion after dropping the first set. Stern first-year Karina Jensrud followed suit in her singles matchup, winning a second set tiebreaker before completing her comeback in the third.
Jensrud credits her mental toughness for her resilient play.
“At some point in the second set I guess I clicked a bit more,” Jensrud said. “That’s when I said, ‘OK, now I’m gonna take this.’”
That same grit and determination propels the doubles pairing as well. Buraya recounted how after losing the first set 2-6, Balyk took a moment to sit and breathe before confidently reassuring both of them that they would win.
“She’s just so calm, so certain,” Buraya said.
Buraya also highlighted the pair’s different styles on the court — Balyk’s cool demeanor complements Buraya’s fiery attitude.
“[Balyk’s] sense of calm gives me the ability to be all pumped up about it, and that together works really well,” Buraya said.
While their personalities complement each other, it also helps that they both speak Russian and have similar playing styles. It all contributes to their on-court chemistry.
“I would say that coming into the net is definitely one of my favorite things,” Balyk said. “That’s why I really enjoy doubles, especially with [Buraya]. It’s one of our strongest parts, just knowing how to work with the ball at the net.”
Head Coach Horace Choy emphasized their strong connection as a playing duo.
“I think they complement each other in regards to their style of play,” Choy said. “When they’re both playing well, I like their chances against just about anyone out there.”
Choy also commented on Jensrud’s early college success.
“She has a very versatile game and is able to adapt her style to what is needed to win matches,” Choy said. “She does have the game and ability to switch things up.”
The ITA National Championships begin Thursday in Rome, Georgia. Buraya, a Nationals verteran but new to the doubles stage, will lead the way for the first-years.
In order to succeed in Georgia, Jensrud says that she will continue to rely on her versatility and try and soak up every moment of the experience.
“I need to be all in it, zone in completely,” Jensrud said. “Footwork. Intensity. Just all-in in every match, and then do my best.”
In the end, they all want to “just make NYU proud,” Balyk said. Undoubtedly, as the three Violets gear up to represent NYU on the national stage, they already have.
A version of this article appears in the Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, print edition. Email Griffin Vrabeck at [email protected]