Saoia Gomez de Segura became the first Mercyhurst women’s tennis player to win the Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference (PSAC) Women’s Singles Championship since Mercyhurst entered the conference in 2008.
She took the title after going unbeaten Sunday, Sept. 14, in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Although Gomez made Mercyhurst history, she still remains humble.
“I can’t believe it,” Gomez said about winning the championship. “At first I wanted to go to PSAC. I was just happy because Coach chose me. And then winning it was awesome.”
Rain cut the matches short, only giving the players the opportunity to play one set per match. Each point scored quickly became more crucial than in regular matches. Along with stiff competition, nothing about this tournament was easy.
“It was harder because you have to be very concentrated. All the points are really important,” Gomez said. “I had two matches against girls that were invincible. It was really hard because they play really good, really constant.”
To get to the highest level in the conference, it takes more than just skill. Gomez’s attitude toward achieving her goal pushed her to become the best. Being from Vitoria, Spain, the dream of playing in America kept her focused on tennis.
“It was my dream to come to the United States, so every day I trained in Spain I was like, ‘Come on, come on! You can go to the States!’” she said.
Playing in America is quite different than playing in Spain, according to Gomez. The universities and high schools do not sponsor sports. They are solely for education. If you want to be involved in a sport, you have to play with a club.
Gomez wished to come to America because she wanted to play tennis competitively. However, she said she would like to return to Spain after graduation, and of course, to keep playing tennis.
Her future plans include going back to Spain to get a job at a private business for marketing, which is her major.
Gomez says it is very difficult to get job there. But with a degree, she hopes she will have a better chance.
Tennis is still part of her plans, though.
“I’ll be like 80 years old playing tennis. That’s my dream,” she said. “Even if you are 80 years old, you have to continue doing what you love.”
Gomez said she recommends tennis to everyone. Her advice to anyone looking to start playing is to “practice, practice, practice.” She also encourages everyone to play in tournaments because it gives you a goal to work towards. Her biggest reason to keep playing is simple: “I’m playing for fun.”
Along with Gomez, freshman Nenad Terzic from Belgrade, Serbia also won the PSAC men’s singles championship on Sunday. He was the first male Laker to do this since Mercyhurst joined the conference in 2008.
His wins included defeating the defending PSAC champion 6-2 in the second round.