At the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Atlantic Region Championships on Sept. 23, the team of senior Viola Lugmayr and sophomore Lois Page won the doubles championship.
This will be their second year together, but they’ve already proven to be one of the best doubles teams in the PSAC.
“It’s nice when you have a team with chemistry together come along, that works hard and plays well together. It’s been about 15 years since we’ve been in this situation, we had two teams that time and this team is parallel to all those teams,” SRU coach Matt Meredith said. “And that’s saying something because the last team that did this were All-Americans.”
In the 2018-19 season, Lugmayr and Page earned first team All-PSAC West honors together and both earned second team All-PSAC honors in singles competition.
Lugmayr, a Linz, Austria native, was also the 2018-19 PSAC Champion Scholar and the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship award.
Page, who comes from Guisborough, England, is a PSAC scholar-athlete and was an ITA scholar-athlete team selection last season.
“[The transition here] was tough, I was in Oklahoma my first semester, so it was completely different to home. Now here environmentally it’s similar to home; it’s hard to be here without family, but I found great friends and they’re like my family over here and the team as well,” Lugmayr said.
In Austria, Lugmayr went to Georg von Peuerbach where she played tennis, soccer, volleyball, track and handball. She then moved to the United States, where she went to Cameron University before transferring to Slippery Rock.
“It’s just really different because I went from being at home and knowing everyone, and I lived in a really small town, and then I came here and I didn’t know anyone. Obviously I don’t have my family, but like she said, everyone here is really nice,” Page said.
She went to Prior Pursglove in England for high school, and was one of the top prep athletes in England.
“We get along better [than other teams], we work good as a team and we know what each other is going to do and where we’re going, and we don’t get angry with each other,” Page said.
The duo compiled an 18-9 record last season together, and was ranked as the third best team in the region by the ITA last season.
“Chemistry [is what makes them work well together], it’s just like in anything else you have to have chemistry to be able to work well together and they complement each other. And they’re constantly in your face, they’re going to bring balls at you they aren’t going to sit back and wait,” Meredith said.
Both have seen success in singles action too; Lugmayr posted a 15-13 record last season in singles, while Page ended with a 19-12 record. Lugmayr, with her 77 wins, stands only 23 wins from the 100-win club. Page is already well on track to that club, too, as she enters this season with 52 wins already. Lugmayr has an all-time record of 35-21 in singles action up to this point and a 42-23 record in doubles, while Page has 25-14 record in singles and a 27-12 record in doubles.
“I’ve been here for three seasons now and this is probably the best team that we’ve had, and now I’m captain this semester so it’s a different role on the team. I’m kind of sad that I have to leave this team behind and my doubles partner,” said Lugmayr.
She will look to lead a team that went 16-9 last Spring, including 6-0 in conference play. The team will also return All-PSAC players Lacey Cohen and Olivia Warner this season to go along with Lugmayr and Page.
In the ITA Atlantic Region Championships, Lugmayr and Page made a comeback in the semi-finals against West Virginia State, winning their closest match of the tournament, 8-7.
“We were down so far, and managed to come back when we realized IUP had a close match and we came back and luckily won,” Lugmayr said. In the finals, they defeated the University of Charleston, 6-4, twice in a row to claim the title.
The team is looking to build off of last season, where they fell in the PSAC team championship and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Mercyhurst after going undefeated in conference play last year. A lot of that success came both Lugmayr and Page, and they will enter this season with momentum following their ITA championship doubles win.