Cavalier Corner

June 2014

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Collins said all that just added fuel to her fire. "I'm kind of one of those people who when somebody makes me upset or says I can't do something, it makes me so much more moti- vated to get after it even more," Collins said. Collins had helped Virginia to its best-ever performance in the team portion of the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers beat Youngstown State, Kentucky and Baylor en route to the quar- terfinals, where they were upended by defending champion Stanford. Three days later, Collins started play in the individual tournament. "I was almost thrown off by it," she said, "but I kind of got my mind straight and was able to get through it. "I definitely missed having my teammates out there. I love the team competition and being able to talk to Stephanie [Nauta] and Jules [Elbaba], and being able to pump each other up." In the first round, Collins beat Veronica Corn- ing of Northwestern, 7-5, 6-2. Next, she defeated Cal's Annet Schutting, 6-3, 6-3. Then Collins pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tourna- ment when she beat UCLA's Robin Anderson, the No. 2-ranked player in the country, 6-1, 6-4. In the quarterfinals, Collins needed three sets to defeat North Carolina's Hayley Carter, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. In the process, she became the first- ever Virginia player to compete in the NCAA quarterfinals or higher. A day later, Collins pulled off a dramatic victory over Duke's Ester Goldfeld. Collins won a second-set tiebreak en route to a 6-3, 7-6 win that moved her into the finals against Cal's Lynn Chi. In the championship match on Memorial Day, Collins was trailing 5-3 in the second set before rallying to win the final 11 points of the set and claim a 6-2, 7-5 win. "[Chi] hit her backhand wide and I started looking at [Guilbeau]," Collins said. "I didn't even realize that I had won it, then I did and dropped to the ground," she said. "I was so pumped." Guilbeau couldn't have been more proud. "To end [the match] with three of the best games of her entire season was so impressive," Guilbeau said. "She stepped up and absolutely went for it with her serve, her pace and depth from the ground, and with her legs and heart. It was awesome to watch." At a press conference back in Charlottesville a few days later, Collins was still walking on air. "It means so much," Collins said. "I'm so happy I was able to do it. I know how much it means for our program and for my coaches, and for my teammates and everybody who has been a part of this, so I'm just happy … "It means so much more being a part of a program and to win it for other people, not just yourself." Collins, who was the first Virginia women's player in school history to advance past the NCAA round of 16, earned Virginia's fourth All-America singles honor, joining Lindsey Hardenbergh (2011) and Elbaba (2013-14). Col- lins finished the season 37-10 in singles play, with the 37 wins ranking second all time at UVa in a single season. Under Guilbeau and Porco's guidance — Porco was named the ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year at season's end — Collins got better and better and peaked at just the right time. In the ACC Tournament, Collins won all three of her singles matches in straight sets and her three doubles matches to help Virginia claim its first-ever league title. Collins said she never doubted that she could make a run in the NCAA Tournament, despite the fact she was unseeded and had a wrist injury. "It was obviously the goal, but I took it match by match and just took the mentality of, 'I'm go- ing to fight and compete my hardest,'" she said. i15-17.Danielle Collins.indd 2 6/3/14 2:17 PM

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