As the Miami University tennis team approaches their 2014 spring season, MURedHawks.com will highlight a different player each week as a part of the Tennis Tracker series.
OXFORD, Ohio – Sophomore Chloe Heerden recalls the afternoon vividly. In late January of 2013, Heerden faced University of Cincinnati’s Carly Wilson in a dual match. It was just the second match of Heerden’s Miami tennis career and would prove to be a memorable one.
“Definitely my biggest moment from last year was the first time I won a match,” said Heerden. “It was my first college win. I lost my first match in three sets, so I think I got a little shaky at the thought of it. Then I pulled myself together.”
Originally from Capetown, South Africa, Heerden graduated from high school in December of 2012. Located below the equator, South Africa’s seasons run opposite of the United States, so Heerden finished high school during the middle of Miami’s academic calendar.
“I thought it was best to come straight away in January,” said Heerden. “Luckily the coaches had a spot on the team so they gave me the scholarship and then I came over.”
“Chloe has improved a lot over the past year,” said Head Coach Anca Dumitrescu. “She has not only developed her strokes but also her footwork and her shot selection and that makes her a much tougher competitor. She has worked hard over the past few months and it's nice to see that work pay off for her with her recent success in our first two tournaments of the fall.”
Heerden played at No. 6 singles for most of her freshman season before enduring a season-ending injury during the team’s Spring Break trip. In a match against the University of Central Florida, Heerden landed abnormally on her ankle and could not finish the match. Following her severe ankle roll, Heerden switched out her racket for a pair of crutches, being forced to sit on the sideline for the rest of the season.
“I am really excited,” said Heerden about returning to the court. “It’s nice to be playing again. It wasn’t really fun just sitting on the side watching when I couldn’t even train and stuff.”
Heerden’s 7-0 record in singles action ties her for the team lead with freshman Andreea Badileanu and senior Christiana Raymond. Those three RedHawks have performed well so far and will certainly be instrumental in the team’s overall success as the team plays through fall and transitions into spring action.
Miami University Tennis returns to action this weekend at the ITA Ohio Valley Regional in Memphis, Tenn. Play begins Friday afternoon and continues through Tuesday.