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Belles reflect on making NCAA DII Tennis Championships for the first time in program history

SAN ANGELO, TX— It was a moment the Angelo State Women’s Tennis team will always cherish. After defeating Cameron in the South Central Regional, they advanced to the National Championship, a milestone the program had never achieved.

“We worked hard for this all year. This was always our end goal,” said junior Avery Durham.

“This is the farthest in a season I’ve ever been as a head coach, and to do it with this group is what means the most. I’ve been coaching for a long time and plan to coach longer. So each year is special because of the ladies on the team you do it with,” said head coach Jason Potthoff.

Since last year, Jason Potthoff has been the head coach. In 2023, he guided the team to the South Central Regional, where they were defeated by St. Mary’s. Despite making few tactical alterations for success in 2024, he credits the team’s chemistry as a key factor.

“In my first year here, I think the most important thing was continuing to build the culture and make sure our standards were where we wanted them. By having some new players join this year, we had to make sure the habits we have every day continue, the way we treat our teammates, and the way we compete hard every day, and that’s something I think will continue to get refined every year,” said Potthoff.

Being far from home is a familiar experience for many girls on this team, like Eva Schwartz, who calls France home. Nonetheless, the presence of a supportive group diminishes the significance of the distance.

“It’s my second home. It feels good. It’s not easy for most of us, but we find new family and friends. It’s been amazing. It’s been a great year. We like spending time with each other, and we win. So, it’s been a good year,” said Schwartz.

The Belles, seeded thirteenth, will now journey to Florida to take on Wingate in the first round of the National Championship on May 20th, aiming to further history for the University.

“We are excited to get the opportunity to do so. We are excited,” said Durham.

“It’s going to be a battle, but I think with this group, they don’t back down. They don’t run away. They are going to get a tough fight from us, and everything we do from here on out is for the team and the University and to keep the season going a little bit longer, so I know we are super motivated for it,” said Potthoff.

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