For many Philadelphia University seniors embarking on their final year of college, the fall semester can be a time of reflection and an opportunity to reminisce about the friendships and experiences they have enjoyed while attending. For marketing student and tennis player Maddie Smith ’08, her most treasured college memories are of times on the tennis court.
A four-year starter for the Women’s Tennis team, Smith is the Lady Rams’ all-time leader in singles, doubles and combined wins and holds the record in single-season (2006-2007) singles and combined wins. Originally in pursuit of a fashion degree, she was intrigued by Philadelphia University for its ability to let her study and play tennis simultaneously. “Ever since I was five years old, tennis has been a huge part of my life and I knew that I wanted to continue playing in college,” she said.
Raised by tennis enthusiasts, both Smith’s parents and older siblings avidly play the racquet sport. As a child, she would often watch her brother and sister compete at college matches hoping to do the same when she was older. “As I got older, I got good at the sport, and enjoyed the challenge of competing against others,” she noted.
In her first year with the Lady Rams, Smith was determined to enhance her technique. “As a freshman I was up against more experienced and older players,” she said. “I am a perfectionist, so I really worked hard to be the best and help my team out in any way I could.”
Now a fully acclimated member of the team, Smith was recently named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Tennis Player of the Week for the third time in six weeks. Modest about her achievements, Smith doesn’t keep track of her records and avoids researching her competition. “I try to focus on having fun with my teammates and the match itself, not the statistics,” she insists.
“She’s the whole package,” Head Women’s Tennis Coach Marty Gilbert said. “Maddie is talented, intelligent and an outstanding tennis player.
Smith’s most recent accomplishment came in a match against Chestnut Hill College on Oct. 4 where she notched her 121st win, breaking the Philadelphia University record for career victories originally set by former teammate Amanda Frantz from 2002 through 2006. “I never fathomed beating her record or getting close to it,” Smith admits, as her win total has now climbed to 125 and counting.
With plans of returning home to Bethlehem, Pa., after graduation to pursue a graduate degree and possibly become a tennis instructor, Smith hopes to visit campus in the future to meet with players that have surpassed her new record. “I would love to see my teammates’ names joining mine and Amanda’s in the record books,” she beamed.