Sports, Tennis

Davis leads Knights with 11-1 season record

Melissa Davis returns a serve against Luther's Adriana DePaolis two weeks ago. Davis went on to win 6-4, 6-2. — Nathan Ford/TRUMPET
Melissa Davis returns a serve against Luther’s Adriana DePaolis two weeks ago. Davis went on to win 6-4, 6-2. — Nathan Ford/TRUMPET

Melissa Davis has been playing tennis since she was five years old. Now a sophomore and in her second season at Wartburg, Davis is trying to make a name for herself.

“I wanted to play college tennis at a level where competitiveness is there but the main goal is to build good relationships with your team and have fun.” said Davis.

After noticing there aren’t many Division III schools in her native Colorado, Davis set her sights elsewhere.

With her mom having went to Drake University in Des Moines and her grandparents living in Cedar Rapids, Davis decided to check out Iowa schools. That’s when she found Wartburg.

“I went on a visit and really liked the environment and the team,” Davis said.

Despite losing four key seniors from last year’s squad that finished third in the Iowa Conference, the team started off the season strong by going 2-0 and is now 5-3 after losses to UW-Eau Claire, Luther and Coe.

While the team struggled against those foes, Davis stood out.

“Melissa’s one of our top leaders,” coach Mike Strydom said. “On the court she brings a winning attitude, that mental ability that’s kind of unparalleled at the moment.”

Davis was the only Knight to record a win against Luther and UW-Eau Claire.

Those two wins plus others helped Davis jump out to a 7-0 singles record on the year. Davis said she tried not to think too much about the winning streak, but continues to play her game and have fun.

Last Wednesday, Davis had her winning streak snapped but wasn’t too worried about the loss saying she would bounce back.

“I lost to a conference opponent,” Davis said. “This will only prepare  me for the next time we go up against the same team.”

She bounced back at the Gustie Fall Invite over the weekend, winning four matches to win her bracket and improve her record to 11-1.

Not only does Davis stand out on the court, but off the court Strydom said she is a class act.

“Mel is funny, she is smart, she knows where her priorities lay, she’s always willing to help, she’s the type of girl that will send me an email during the day just to say ‘hey coach, you did a great job.’ And that’s really appreciative to hear from one of your players,” Strydom said.

With all the good that’s happening on the tennis court, Davis has many people to thank from her brother, to her mom, to an even higher power.

“My main role model is my Lord and Savior,” Davis said. “He is who I look up to in times of need and what reminds me that whatever I do should be pointing to Him.”

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