TAMPA, FL – North Carolina State’s Joelle Kissell wears her heart on her sleeve.
The top-ranked player on the the Wolfpack women’s tennis club entered Wednesday’s matches at the University of South Florida with a 6-0 doubles record, and a single’s record of 6-1.
Despite being asked to control her aggression by her coach, the junior player wasn’t afraid to display her raw emotion and competitive nature on the court.
“I’ve always been passionate in a match and that’s the most important thing about tennis, it’s what you prepare for so I always want to give it my all,” said Kissell on the chilly afternoon.
“[The umpire] said when I scream, ‘come on,’ not to scream it towards the opponent because its intimidating, so have to scream it towards the fence…I kept screaming.”
Kissell and her doubles partner Tatiana Illova found themselves down 4-0 in their match against the USF team, but were able to mount a comeback and take a 7-6 lead.
The duo was disappointed when the USF team forfeited the match after catching wind that NC State had already won two out of three doubles matches, halting their stunning comeback.
“I’m a little disappointed because we were two points away from winning the match, and we were down 5-1 and we were able to turn it around,” said Kissell sadly. “When they wanted to stop, our hearts just kind of stopped too.
“If I were them, I would of never wanted to give up, I never give up.”
The 52nd-ranked NCAA women’s tennis player credits the team for her success on the court, but she also recognizes the value of the life-long friendships she is making in her time at N.C. State.
“I’m lucky I have a great group of girls, and I love everyone on our team because were able to just goof off and have fun,” said Kissell smiling. “It puts everything in perspective in a sense that tennis is important, but the relationships you make in college are too.”
Last year Kissell played her way into the second round of the NCAA Singles Championship, becoming the second player in N.C. State history to accomplish that feat.
“It was a great experience for me and I learned a lot,” said Kissell. “It made me hungrier to get to the third round, or the fourth round next time.”
The Wolfpack were able to match a club record, defeating USF and improving their mark to an impressive 8-0. Kissell won both her matches, and she credits her competitive nature to the victories.
“If I’m not wearing my heart on my sleeve, then I‘m not giving it everything I got.”