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Athlete of the Week: Karli Helland

September 21, 2016

Karli Helland, a sophomore tennis player from Menomonie, Wisconsin, had a breakthrough performance in Stevens Point and Oshkosh this past weekend. Helland won her singles match 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 in a tightly played contest in which the Falcons barely lost 4-5 against UW-Stevens Point. Helland responded the next day by winning her singles match 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 in dramatic fashion and teamed with Aliza Doherty to win 8-4 in doubles against UW-Oshkosh. Helland was the only Falcon to even win a set against the Titans. The Student Voice sat down with Helland to ask her about her performance and the tennis season as a whole.

Q: When did you start playing tennis?

A: I started playing my freshman year of high school because one of my friends convinced me to go out for it.

Q: What made you want to play tennis at UWRF?

A: I really liked the sport and it’s a good way to make friends and start the college career off right.

Q: What’s the difference between last year’s team and this year?  What has improved?

A: We have four recruits playing this year compared to three freshmen last year. It’s also our coach’s second year here and we all have a better grasp of what our ultimate goal is. The team’s also growing a lot in the direction that we want it to.

Q: What will it take for the team to breakthrough for a victory?

A: Almost pulling through that match [against UW-Stevens Point] was a big victory for us even though we didn’t win. Making less unforced errors would’ve pulled us through but it was a pretty even match-up and we looked forward to playing them because they’re good competition.

Q: What clicked this weekend to go 3-0?

A: I am really determined this year to keep my spot in the lineup. Prior to this weekend I was having a rough week, so I wanted to bring it back and secure my spot.

Q: Do you have more confidence as a sophomore with experience playing these teams before?

A: It’s nice to know what to expect out of each team because you can hear things from your teammates, but it’s totally different once you get out there. Coming on the court as a freshman you have no idea how it works. In high school you play singles or doubles and you usually don’t play both, but in college you play both typically. Getting thrown out to play doubles was totally new but I’m getting the grasp of it.

Q: What is your greatest strength on the court?

A: Using the whole court in singles and mixing it up by hitting drop shots and using my angles is my greatest strength. My forehand is also stronger than my backhand.