W. Tennis: Lauren Kalvaria
May 6, 2002
Like many college seniors, Lauren Kalvaria is looking forward to her graduation this June. Unlike most upcoming graduates, Kalvaria has a job lined up - professional tennis player. With less than a month to go before leaving Stanford, Kalvaria is sitting pretty. She has two NCAA Team Championships under her belt, an appearance in last year's NCAA Singles Final (where she fell to teammate Laura Granville) and a 2000 ITA Doubles Championship. She will graduate with a degree in Economics and a spot on the pro tennis circuit. But before she leaves, she has one more thing to do - play in the 2002 NCAA Championships.
The Cardinal women's tennis program has collected 12 NCAA team titles, 12 singles titles and 10 doubles titles, establishing itself as one of the premier college programs in the nation. With a 21-1 record on the year, four Stanford women ranked in the top-20 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rankings as singles and two pairings in the doubles top-20, the Cardinal enters the NCAA Championships in May with high expectations.
Behind the leadership of top-ranked doubles pair Kalvaria and fellow senior Gabrielle Lastra, the Cardinal look to dominate in all aspects of nationals. Stanford, which took the team title in 2001 after a perfect 30-0 season, will look to defend its crown and claim the title in consecutive years for the first time since 1990 and 1991. The four athletes to earn NCAA bids from Stanford are a combined 87-27 on the year and the two Cardinal doubles teams invited are 51-11.
Kalvaria, ranked No. 4 in singles in the country, is looking forward to her final collegiate showing. As a captain of this year's squad, Kalvaria is responsible for carrying on much of the tradition that goes along with being a Stanford tennis player. 'We have a great facility [at the Taube Tennis Center] and people come here wanting to beat Stanford,' says Kalvaria about the home court on The Farm. 'It was really important when we lost to Cal here my freshman year because they beat us on our home court and we haven't lost here again in my four years. We [learned] that we have to respect all of our opponents and always play our best and be prepared.'
This season, the Cardinal has only dropped one match all season - a 4-3 loss to Georgia at the National Indoors in February. Kalvaria missed the competition because of an injury that sidelined her for a few weeks - but since returning to the court, she has been unstoppable. With 20 wins this season and a 24-2 doubles record with Lastra, Kalvaria is excited about the possibilities that are approaching. 'I feel like I've accomplished more than I ever expected to,' she notes. 'I've done more than I set out to do [with winning the two team titles and being the singles runner-up]. I don't feel any pressure going into the tournament - I'm just excited to end it on our home court. It's fun for us, the crowd and everyone who watches us.'
An important part of the crowd for Kalvaria will be her family. From Indialantic, Florida, Kalvaria has been fortunate to have her family present throughout her Stanford career. With her support system in the stands at matches throughout her four years on The Farm, Klavaria comments, 'It's crucial that they've been part of my tennis and collegiate career. I can lean on them after a big loss or a tough match and it's important for me to have that. It should be fun to play in front of them and at Stanford.'
College is ending soon for Kalvaria and her life will change in many ways. But with the support of her family and her Stanford experience, she is prepared for the challenges ahead and excited for all the possibilities ahead.