DURHAM, N.C. – Duke women’s tennis senior Alyssa Smith begins to wrap up her final season with the Blue Devils with just 14 regular season matches remaining. A product of Laguna Niguel, Calif., Smith currently owns an 8-12 record singles record and looks to improve heading into the conference championship and the NCAA Tournament.
Smith recently spent time with GoDuke.com to look back at her Duke career and what she has valued the most.
GoDuke.com: How did you know that coming to Duke was the right decision for you?
Alyssa Smith: On my visits, I really loved the girls and the coaches, as well as the entire atmosphere here at Duke. It was a place where I knew I could grow as a person off the court and as a tennis player on the court.
GoDuke.com: What have the relationships you’ve formed here meant to you and how have they added to your experience?
Smith: The relationships I’ve formed with my teammates are one that I will keep for the rest of my life. We make each other better and push each other on and off the court.
GoDuke.com: What will a degree from Duke mean to you?
Smith: It will mean a lot, both to me and my family. It’s a huge accomplishment and something that I’m proud to say I will be getting in May. Going forward, I hope to use these Duke connections and keep up with the Duke family.
GoDuke.com: What has been your proudest academic achievement throughout your four years?
Smith: I made Dean’s List a few times.
GoDuke.com: What have your teammates meant to you?
Smith: They’ve meant everything to me. They’ve been here through the ups and downs. This is really my core friend group and we see each other a lot, whether or not we like it. But I’ve definitely made some amazing friendships.
GoDuke.com: What is one lesson Duke tennis has taught you that you will carry over to the rest of your life?
Smith: To push through adversity. We’ve had a lot of that on all four of the teams I’ve been on, so learning to take the struggles in stride and use them going forward.
GoDuke.com: What is one team goal you all have for the rest of the season?
Smith: Obviously we would love to win ACCs and NCAAs, but to just be resilient. We want to compete to our fullest every match and leave everything on the court each time.
GoDuke.com: How has your role changed from being a freshman to a senior?
Smith: I’ve definitely had a lot of different roles on the team. Everyone does a really good job of leading in their own way and I try to do the same. Whether I’m playing or not, I try to always be there, be vocal and let my teammates know I’m supporting them.