Lone senior Pleiman excited to lead Women’s Tennis team in 2021

Senior Women’s Tennis player looks forward to leading her team this season, photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Will Riesenberg
Contributing Writer

The Dayton Women’s Tennis team’s Kelly Pleiman is excited to lead the squad both on and off the court as the lone senior on this year’s roster.

Her dedication to becoming a better player has paid off, as she has posted a 4-3 singles record so far, including a win against West Virginia State University last week. “We actually lost to them my sophomore year,” said Pleiman.

“So it was good to get a 5-2 win against them this year”.

Over the course of the year, the senior has made vast improvements to her game.

Pleiman’s determination has resulted in a much better win percentage compared to her junior season, where she spent most of the shortened season battling in first and second singles.

Pleiman attributes her success to the change in her style of play.

“I have become a much more aggressive player throughout college,” Pleiman said. “In high school I would just wait for my opponent to make mistakes, but being in college everyone is much better, so I’ve become a lot more aggressive.”

She also credits her improved net game to her success this year. Head Coach Erica Echko attributes Kelly’s success to her hard work outside of the UD tennis program.

“She’s a great kid and even takes lessons every week at Five Seasons,” and her commitment does not go unnoticed in the Dayton Tennis program.

Being a Dayton native, Pleiman played all four years at Chaminade-Julienne High School, and retained the number one spot on the team from her 10th through 12th grade season.

Her senior season, she earned First Team All-State honors, as well as GCL Player of the Year and All-Area Player of the Year while placing 4th in the state tournament.

This is extremely impressive for someone playing in the number one slot, which earned her an applause from CJ’s Head Coach Jim Brooks.

“She faced the toughest competition day in and day out and she won all of her full matches up until the very last day of the state tournament” said Brooks who has coached the men’s and women’s Chaminade-Julienne tennis teams for over 30 years.

Brook’s praise does not end with just her tennis skills, though, as he also commends the person she is off the court.

“(I miss) her competitive spirit, her mental toughness and her team leadership,” Brooks said. “She’s a very bright person and she uses that intelligence to play smart tennis. She’s coachable, teachable, and she’ll try what others suggest to be successful.”

These leadership traits have carried over to Pleiman’s time at the University of Dayton, as she has continued to be an influence on all of the underclassmen.

“Kelly is a very hard worker and leads by example,” Coach Echko reflects. She uses her leadership traits to help teammates with scheduling.

“I think one of the most important things that comes with being a student-athlete is time management,” Pleiman said. “And especially this year with COVID, (I’m) teaching others to be more flexible with their time…and overall, always being positive.”

Pleiman also takes pride in her academics.

As an applied economics major, she has never gotten a B.

“She is a 4.0 student, and was the valedictorian of her high school,” according to Echko.

She currently has a job organized with EY, working with their tax and technology department.

Pleiman is excited to continue to lead and mentor the young Dayton Women’s Tennis team the rest of this year and really leave her mark on the program.

With just six matches left before the postseason begins in Orlando, she is capitalizing on every moment of the final times of her college tennis career.

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