Making Saint Mary’s History in Tennis
With just one year of college left, women’s tennis player Jenny Jullien returned to campus this fall with one thing on her mind.
Make it count.
Last season, Jullien joined Alex Poorta as the only Gaels ever to be named West Coast Conference (WCC) Player of the Year. Jullien climbed as high as No. 17 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) singles rankings, making her the program’s highest-ranked player ever. And she joined Poorta as the only Gaels ever to compete in the NCAA Singles Tournament.
The native of Perpignan, France, came back to Moraga this fall with more success on her mind. College tennis is a spring sport for the team, and most players use the fall tournament circuit to prepare for what’s ahead.
To Jullien, the fall represented an opportunity to get better.
She began the season ranked No. 22 and won her first two matches at the ITA All-American Championships. A few weeks later, she entered the ITA Northwest Regional at Stanford as the No. 6 seed and again made Saint Mary’s history, winning her first five matches to become the first Gael ever to reach the final of an ITA Regional event. That result earned her an invitation to the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y., making her one of just 32 players from across the country and one of just two from the WCC to make the trip east.
“ITA Regionals was a revelation for me,” Jullien said. “It was like, after three years, I finally realized I belong with the top players from the region. Not only could I compete with them, but I could also beat them.”
Jullien certainly isn’t finished making Saint Mary’s history. She began the spring ranked No. 7 in the country, raising the bar she’d already set as Saint Mary’s highest-ranked tennis player ever. She’ll again play the No. 1 spot in the lineup for head coach Lisa Alipaz this spring, and will look to continue her success, as well, as the Gaels try to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth year in a row.