Junior women’s tennis player Emily McNall is from Southern California where she says they have the most perfect weather in the world.
But after three years in Asheville, she enjoys the four seasons that the Land of the Sky offers, more so than the perfect weather of California.
“I just love Asheville, and one of the big things I love about Asheville is the four seasons. I’ve learned to love winter and the snow,” exclaimed McNall. “But not just winter; the fall is incredible with the leaves changing colors, and then when you get spring after winter, this is just a wonderful place to go to school and live.”
When it comes to playing tennis, Emily’s play has been pretty sunny for the Bulldogs in 2014.
She’s been a regular in the Asheville lineup since her freshman year but has been close to perfect like her native Southern California weather.
She started the season with seven straight wins in singles and is 8-2 entering next week’s matches. McNall has been even better in doubles action with an 8-1 record at #3 flight.
“I’m playing with a little more confidence this season, and once I started winning some matches early in the year it has given me more and more confidence,” commented McNall.
McNall’s confidence is shared with the entire Bulldog roster. Coach Lise Gregory’s club is off to its best start in more than 20 years with a 9-4 record. Asheville is 2-1 in Big South Conference play with solid wins over Longwood and Gardner-Webb. It was just last season that the Bulldogs won a conference match for the first time in three seasons.
“We’re really pleased with how Emily is playing this year,” stated Gregory. “We’ve moved her around in the lineup, and she’s finding ways to win both in singles and doubles.
“She’s a hard worker who has improved with each season,” she added.
“We believe we can win the Big South Conference this year,” stated McNall. “Most of us have been together for three years, and we’ve gotten better with each season. We just have to put it together at the conference tournament and get the job done. I really think this could be our year. We have the ability and talent.”
Emily grew up in Altadena, Calif., which is located next to Pasadena, home of the Rose Bowl and Rose Bowl Parade.
“I’ve seen the Rose Bowl Parade numerous times with my family,” stated McCall. “This year we were watching it and saw my uncle and his business in the parade. That was a big thrill.”
One of the biggest adjustments for the Health & Wellness major has been to simply playing on a collegiate team.
“When I was playing in high school, I was thinking more about getting ranked and what college would see me play, “ admitted McCall. “I’d have my personal coach with me or my dad at matches, and it just wasn’t about what the team did.
“College tennis is much different,” added McCall. “It’s about what’s best for the team. You might lose your match, but if the team wins then it’s been a good day. I had to adjust to that in college, but thankfully I have such great teammates and coaches that I was able to make the adjustment.”
While Emily enjoys the four seasons Asheville, she likes the friendliness of the area even better.
“This is just the nicest place I’ve ever been to,” she said. “Everyone is nice. People hold the doors open for you, ask how you’re doing. Asheville just fits my personality perfect.”