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Mindset change helps senior capture coveted title

The UNK women’s tennis team holds up Jazmin Zamorano after her finals win Sunday. Courtesy Photo

A year after falling in the quarterfinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Regionals, Loper senior Jazmin Zamorano walked away from the courts in Edmond, Oklahoma, a winner.

She made sure to do it in dominant fashion, too.

“Every single ball Jazmin hit this weekend had intentions to set up the next shot,” said coach Scott Shafer. “They [competitors] just wanted to quit tennis because Jazmin refuses to quit.”

Zamorano dominated the competition en route to the second regional singles title in UNK women’s tennis history. She defeated all her six opponents in straight sets, not allowing any of them to win more than three games.

And it all came a year after she let this tournament take over her life.

“I was obsessed,” Zamorano said. “I was like, ’You need to be perfect. Wake up at 5 a.m. You need to do this, do that and have the perfect outlook on things,’ and if I didn’t do that, I would undervalue myself.”

Zamorano’s quest for perfection put a damper on her love for the game of tennis, and after her junior season, she knew something needed to change.

“During the summer, she asked me to come work with her a little bit,” Shafer said. “At one of those sessions, she told me, ‘I just wanted to let you know that I have a different attitude going into this year.’”

Zamorano wanted to get back to the attitude that she had during her dominant sophomore year. A year where she strung together an impressive 13-match singles win streak.

But what made that attitude so different from the one she had during her junior year?

“Sophomore year I focused more on helping the team, not playing for me but playing for everyone,” Zamorano said. “Because I was not doing it for me, all the fear of losing, I didn’t worry about it.”

By making a mental change, Zamorano was able to take the pressure off herself, allowing her to play without distraction and with confidence in her game.

“I realized that like, I’ve been playing tennis for more than 10 years,” Zamorano said. “I knew it was more about my mindset and how I was thinking about it.”

Last weekend in Edmond, where she dominated her opponents, it was obvious that she was playing with confidence for those watching.

“She walked around all weekend and never once talked about winning regionals or going to nationals,” Shafer said. “It wasn’t even a thought in her head.”

The pressure to perform that loomed over Zamorano a season ago was no longer there, she just went out on the court and played tennis the way she wanted to.

“It was just amazing to watch someone play so relaxed,” Shafer said. “That was just absolutely remarkable to see someone just tell themselves that’s what they wanted to do and actually live that approach.”

Even though her coach couldn’t see it, there were still nerves present. Especially on championship Sunday, where Zamorano would be facing off against teammate Fabiana Gamboa in the semifinals.

“That morning I was so nervous I was like, shaking,” Zamorano said.

However, Zamorano was able to calm her nerves by making a phone call back home to her mom in Mexico, who told her she needed to visualize herself winning, and remember why she played the game.

“That gave me more hope and she was like, ‘You have everything you need to win, just play for your team, play for God and play for your teammates,” Zamorano said.

Zamorano took the advice and ran with it, winning her semifinal matchup against her teammate, clinching her spot in the finals match against Augustana’s Florentia Hadjigeorgiou.

Zamorano cruised to victory in the finals match, defeating Hadjigeorgiou in two sets, 6-2, 6-0.

A year after letting winning the tournament take over her life, she got her most coveted tournament victory.

“It felt like a relief,” Zamorano said. “It felt like, ‘I can’t believe I did this,’ because last year I was so obsessed with winning this tournament that I stopped enjoying being with my team and little things like that.”

With the win, Zamorano punched her ticket to the ITA Cup in Rome, Georgia, from Oct. 12-16, where she has the chance to compete for a national championship.

Zamorano’s singles championship capped off a successful weekend for the Loper women’s tennis team. It was a weekend where four Lopers would make it to the “A” quarterfinals, including fellow senior Melisa Becerra, junior Alexis Bernthal and freshman Fabiana Gamboa. Freshman Julia Wartecka also won the “C” consolation singles championship. Junior Narindra Ranaivo would secure an upset of the No. 1 seed in the first round of doubles with Becerra as her partner.

The Loper women’s tennis team will be in action one last time this fall, hosting Minnesota State on Oct. 7. Then, the team will be off until the season resumes in the spring.

UNK senior tennis player Jazmin Zamorano won the ITA Central Regional singles title this weekend. Courtesy Photo
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Traeton Harimon
Traeton Harimon, Sports Editor
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