From Guisborough, England, to Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, came a tennis star who was recently named to the ITA All-American Team.
Lois Page, a junior psychology major with a minor in communications, swung her first racket at only six years old after she watched the England-based tennis tournament Wimbledon and felt inspired to hit the court. One night, her and her father went to their local court, but were disappointed to find the gates locked. Instead, Page and her father played for hours in the parking lot next to the court until she got the swing of things.
“When I was about 12 years old, I started to play competitively,” Page said.
Taking her sport more seriously came with responsibility, the same responsibility that is instilled in her today as SRU tennis head coach Matt Meredith considers Page a leader to the team.
Page is a native of England, but ended up coming to the United States to attend Slippery Rock University to continue her athletic and academic career as a freshman.
“I had to make a recruitment video and when I talked to coach, I knew Slippery Rock was everything I was looking for,” said Page, adding how the academics, campus, and team factored into her ultimately choice of The Rock. “I came for a visit and everyone was so kind, and coach was great, too. He really made me feel at home.”
Student athletes tend to do their best in a setting they’re comfortable in. For Page, that setting was the Slippery Rock tennis court.
The best part about it all was getting to do it with her best friend. After an astounding year as a team, doubles partners and best friends Page and Viola Lugmayr won the Regional Tournament together not just once, but twice.
The Regional Tournament is a gateway to the Nationals that include all divisions: Divisions I, II, III, NAIA, and other small or religious colleges can compete. To win in the National Competition is a big deal, and Page and Lugmayr earned themselves ITA All-American titles.
“I’m from England and my partner was from Austria so that was pretty cool too,” Page said.
As for the girl’s coach, Meredith is impressed by their abilities and teamwork, as well as the title they’ve earned.
“They’re only the second ones to do that here at SRU, it’s really an amazing accomplishment,” Meredith said.
He added that he’s been coaching for a total of 23 years, and it hadn’t happened since his 5th year of his career at SRU.
“It’s nice to see progression within the team, they’re all so special in their own ways,” he said.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken time away from the tennis team this past year. Tennis is played in both the fall and spring, but divided by team play one semester and individual for the other.
In the upcoming month players should finally be returning to the court. Meredith said the team will play its first match the first weekend of March against Carnegie Mellon University.
In the meantime, though, Page is also making plans for the future.
“I hope to find a job in sport psychology when I graduate so I can stay in sports,” said Page.
She added that despite the challenges, COVID-19 gave her an extra year of eligibility that she hopes to use in her future at graduate school.
Coach Meredith always tells his players to believe in their abilities. Page believed in herself and earned her right as an ITA All-American, a once in a lifetime achievement that she now has an opportunity to make happen again.