Friday, April 3, 2015

Two international students give boost to UIS tennis

Jane Carter and Gerard Carpinell have at least four things in common: They’re the No. 1 singles players on their respective University of Illinois Springfield women’s and men’s tennis teams; they’re international students; they arrived in Springfield in January; and both have beaten a nationally ranked NCAA Division II player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association ratings.

Carter hails from Auckland, New Zealand, and was on her way Saturday to scoring a win against another ranked opponent when she led No. 12 Stephanie Hirsch, a sophomore at Indianapolis, 6-2, 1-0. But then the Greyhounds called off the match due to the cold temperature at Washington Park. “I was so in the zone to beat someone who was better than me,” Carter said.

Carpinell, who is from Granollers, Spain, located northeast of Barcelona, beat a ranked opponent on the same day. Carpinell knocked off No. 27 Romain Boissinot, a sophomore at Northwest Missouri State, 6-3, 1-6, 10-8. “I was very happy,” Carpinell said. “I didn’t expect to win that match, but I was playing very well. I was up one set, but I was so tired because that was my fourth match that day. I tried to hit the ball hard, attack every ball, serve as fast as I can and win the important points.

Carter, who graduated from high school in December, and Carpinell both started at UIS in January when classes resumed for second semester.

The women's team has a 6-11 record after winning only three matches last year. The men's squad is 7-9 after posting a 4-13 record the previous season. “I really wanted to add some kingpins to the lineup in January,” said UIS first-year coach Tom Rees, a native of Worcestershire, England. “I think it’s important for us to build from the top moving forward. We’ve got pretty deep rosters. We just needed a couple of standouts to really lead us at the top.”

Carter had never been to the United States before January, while Carpinell visited once before when he spent one week in New York. “It’s been really different from home,” Carter said. "You see it in the movies and you think it's just a movie, but it's exactly like the movies."

This article appeared online in The State Journal-Register on April 2, 2015.

Read the entire article online.