April 8, 2009
SANTA CLARA, Calif.- For seniors Myra Davoudi and Stephanie Galainena, Friday's match against USF will mark their last appearances as Broncos on their home courts at Degheri Center. Both seniors have been integral to the success of the team with their leadership and consistent play.
For SCU head coach Ben Cabell, both players have been indispensable. "Stephanie and Myra have been the leaders and the heart of the team for the past two years. They both bring a lot of personality to the court, and they both work as hard as they can at every single match. They are a wonderful example to the younger players on the team. I've coached them for four years now, so it will be a different experience for me next year without them on the team next year," said Cabell.
SantaClaraBroncos.com met up with both players to reflect on their experiences as members of Bronco tennis and the Santa Clara student-athlete community.
SantaClaraBroncos.com: How would you describe your overall experience at Santa Clara:
Stephanie Galainena: It has been a rollercoaster. I have appreciated every bit of it. It's been such a maturing experience and I've learned so much about myself, my team and my coaches.
Myra Davoudi: Over the years we've all grown together and built relationships that will go on forever. Being a student-athlete is amazing; I can't imagine going to college and not being a student-athlete. The tennis team is so close and it has taught me things that we couldn't learn in the classroom. We've met all kinds of people, been in all kinds of situations and I really feel that I have a support system here, even after I graduate.
SCB.com: What's been your favorite memory on the tennis court?
SG: Let's hope that WCC Tournament will provide our best moments on the court (laughs). The one that sticks out to me was when I was a sophomore at WCC Tournament and I had split sets with a girl who I previously lost to during the season, and we tied it at 3-3 to get to the doubles point. It ended up getting rained out, but everyone just rallied around each other and it was a great experience.
MD: Our win against Portland last year was pretty amazing. We were at the bottom seed and everyone was against us. We came back to beat Portland and that was a great feeling. It came down to three freshmen and they pulled it off to win.
SCB.com: What are your expectations for Friday's match against USF and then the WCC Tournament?
MD: USF has always been our rival. It's always been close. I definitely think we can beat them. We should be able to win on Friday.
SG: It's scary, we've both played tennis our entire lives and it's the culmination of everything. I just want to think of it as just another match where we need this win, and hopefully put the whole senior day festivities aside for the match and pull out a win.
MD: I think once you get on the court, it's game time. It's hard because you're emotional and afterwards it hits you, "I'm never going to play on these courts again."
SG: Ugh, I don't even want to think about it...
SCB.com: What originally brought you to Santa Clara?
SG: I never thought in a million years I would end up in California. The head coach of the team at the time really just kept pursuing me and on my recruiting trip Myra was one of the first people I met and we've been best friends since that day.
MD: I was actually looking at Southern California schools since I'm from around here. I tore my ACL for the second time before committing to a school, but when the head coach contacted me it all worked out and I was able to get a scholarship here. I loved the team as soon as I visited.
SG: Absolutely no regrets. None
SCB.com: What has been your favorite moment here at Santa Clara?
SG: I can't speak for everyone, but most of the athletes are very supportive and everybody just wants to help you.
MD: Spring time, when all of the team is coming together and having fun. We're really big on doing impersonations of everyone and that's a lot of fun. We hear about other teams and I really think we have the best experiences. We're very much a family, in all aspects.
SCB.com: Do you have any advice for the younger players on the team?
MD: I've spent a lot of time talking to them. Steph and I both try to lead by example in different ways. They've seen what we do and I think they can handle the responsibility. Be responsible.
SG: They'll be fine. I think it will all come naturally to all of them. Embrace every moment here, both the ups and the downs.
SCB.com: Since you two are the only seniors this year, how has your relationship grown?
MD: Everything we do just brings us closer, every match, every experience. I think we're always there for each other, regardless of what happens. It's just a trust you build.
SG: Being a teammate is one of the most intimate relationships that you can have. They've seen you at your worst, bawling after a match, and they're right by your side. When you win a really close match, or you upset a really good player, they're celebrating with you, too. They're always there, highs, lows and in-betweens.
SCB.com: Any graduation plans?
SG: If anyone wants to give me a job, I'd love it!
MD: Steph and I want to start our own business together at some point. Our parents have always said that we need to get together in the future and work together. We're thinking maybe a restaurant chain.
SCB.com: Do you plan on being involved with the team in the years to come as an alumni?
MD: I can't wait to come watch the girls next year after I graduate. The alumni are completely involved, and are always giving us encouragement. We hope to be the same way.
SG: Yeah, usually before a lot of our matches we get a lot of text messages from former players saying "Beat the Zags!" or something similar. I really want to support the team.