After making program history by winning the first NCAA Singles title in Virginia women's tennis history, Danielle Collins is back in Charlottesville and showing off some new hardware. The sophomore beat Cal's Lynn Chi 6-2, 7-5 in the title match on Monday in Athens, Ga.
"The best part I think is being the first person to do it for this program," Collins said Wednesday. "I'm just really happy to be able to do it for this school. I love it here so much and I love everybody that's been a part of our program."
In addition to etching her name in the UVa tennis record books, Collins also will receive a wild card into the main draw of the U.S. Open in August.
"It's still kind of shocking to me that I'm going to be playing in a grand slam," she said. "That's been my dream ever since I was three years old, and I at one point thought that it might never happen. I'm just so fortunate to be able to be in this situation and really just excited and really pumped up at the same time."
Collins will certainly be an underdog in the upcoming U.S. Open, but that is a role she's familiar with. Collins entered the NCAA singles bracket as the No. 32 seed, and scored upsets over five players who were ranked higher, including second-seeded Robin Anderson of UCLA. The sophomore is in her first year at Virginia after transferring from Florida, and says the UVa coaches played a significant role in her run to the title.
"Mark and Troy have really believed in me my whole time here. Even before I came here and was struggling when I was at Florida, they've always put an emphasis on what I can bring to the program and how much I can develop as a player and keep improving. I just kind of had a lot of confidence going in regardless of what other people were thinking."