While many students are spending their Thursday nights celebrating the upcoming weekend at the Neon Cactus or any number of other campus bars, the Purdue women’s tennis team is gathered around a television set anxiously awaiting the start of their weekly bonding time.
At 10:00 p.m. each Thursday night, the entirety of the women’s tennis team gets together at one player’s apartment and enjoys a new episode of … ”How to Get Away With Murder.” Although the choice of show might come as a bit of a surprise, it’s a weekly event the team takes very seriously, and serves as a great example of the improved bond felt throughout this year’s squad.
“Last year, there were some difficult times, and even in years before there was always some kind of drama on the team,” junior Krisztina Kapitany said. “It doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen this year though. We’re all really uniform. We like each other, we really do. Not just supporting each other on the court, but we really like each other individually on the team.”
The team’s off-the-court bond is an extremely positive thing that has improved the groups’ match day chemistry as well. For the first time since the 2012 season, when the women’s tennis team won the Big Ten, Purdue has a group of women who are truly committed to playing for each other.
“When the hard times come around, you’re going to look at the people next to you and if you like them, you’re going to fight for them,” senior Daniela Vidal said. “If you don’t, you’re not going to care.”
Kapitany was quick to agree with Vidal’s sentiments, even citing her relationship with the girls on the team as the sole reason she’s able to rally through some of her tougher contests.
“(My teammates) are what push me through my matches. If it was just me, I would probably give up. But I see my teammates on the sideline and I think ‘I’m going to win for them,’” Kapitany said. “There’s no better feeling than when you win for them. When everyone comes in to hug you, it’s the best feeling.”
Although the team still has several weeks to go before entering conference play, Purdue is currently the third-highest ranked team in the Big Ten at No. 38 and has already scored a big-time win over No. 42 Washington. With the Boilers seeming to have as much talent on this roster as they’ve had in several years, and the chemistry to mold it all together, Purdue has genuine Big Ten Championship aspirations this season.
“We want to take things one match at a time, but our main goal this season is definitely to win the Big Ten,” Vidal said. “We haven’t won the Big Ten since I was a freshman, so I want to go out with another win. Purdue can be at the top of the Big Ten and I want people to know that.”
After the team’s time off this past weekend, Purdue returns to the court on Saturday when the Boilers travel to Tulsa, Okla., to take on No. 25 Tulsa.