By Hilary Winter
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Tell Patricia Veresova that there is no "I" in team and she will absolutely agree. After years of playing "on her own" in Slovakia, Veresova is now a key contributor on the Nebraska women's tennis team.
A native of Piestany, Slovakia, Veresova came to Nebraska as the winner of the Slovakian women's championships in both singles and doubles. The transition to the college game has been an eye opener and a welcome change for her.
"I feel like I enjoy (tennis) a lot more than I did in the past." Veresova said. "I didn't enjoy (tennis) as much as I do here. It was really different; there was a lot of pressure there. Here I have a lot more support from my coaches and my teammates. Playing on a team is a lot different than playing individually."
Not only does she have the encouragement of her teammates and coaches day in and day out, Veresova has embraced the team mentality and what it means to be a part of the Nebraska athletics family.
"(In the past) I didn't have as much support as I do now and a lot of times I had to travel to tournaments on my own," Veresova said. "Here I enjoy it a lot more. I play for the team and for someone else; it's a lot better than just for me."
At Nebraska she saw a unique opportunity to attend a respected school and continue pursuing tennis as her passion.
"Tennis was a huge part of my life and I didn't want to stop playing," Veresova said. "There was a great opportunity here for me to come and play."
A selfless attitude and perspective has helped Veresova become very successful in her sophomore season. She had to sit out the 2009-10 season due to NCAA amateurism rules, but used that time to grow and learn more about the game.
"It was not very pleasant to just sit and watch people play. It's kind of sad to just watch," Veresova said. "It gets frustrating, but I passed it; it's a lot better now that I can compete. When you don't compete for such a long time it is hard to get back on the court because you lose your confidence. The more I play now the more confidence I gain. It was a little frustrating, but I'm glad it's over."
Sitting out a year and adjusting to the rigors of being a student-athlete at Nebraska was not the only thing that challenged Veresova as a freshman. She also had to learn and deal with the cultural changes between Nebraska and Slovakia.
"It's a lot different here," Veresova said. "People here are a lot friendlier than at home; the atmosphere is a lot different."
As a sophomore, Veresova is 10-1 in doubles play and 9-2 in singles, including being 1-1 against ranked opponents this year. In addition, she is currently on a nine-match winning streak in doubles play. At the core of who she is, she will always attribute her success to hard work and perseverance.
"All of the practices we participate in prepare us really well," Veresova said. "It's all in the preparation, when you give it your best in practice it pays off in matches."
The numbers and wins mean little to Veresova, a player who has truly embraced what it means to be a Husker. Her goals focus on one thing: supporting her team.
"My goal is to be there for my team and do my best so we can jump in the rankings," Veresova said. "It's always nice to get a win and be there for the team when we win a match that really sets us forward."