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College coaches meet tennis hopefuls

Seventeen-year-old Michelle Dalleva, a doubles tennis player from St. Francis Preparatory in Fresh Meadows, has begun the countdown to college.
Currently a senior at the Queens tennis powerhouse, Dalleva, who has only been playing the sport since her freshman year, has already begun filling out applications for schools based on her academic prowess and also hopes to apply to places where she could get a scholarship for her backhand too.
“I haven’t filled out any sports applications yet,” the Oakland Gardens resident said on Sunday, November 11.
Therefore, what could better jumpstart the process than a visit to the 2007 United States Tennis Association (USTA) Eastern Showcase day, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center - for the 22nd consecutive year - Dalleva thought.
More than 60 coaches and assistant coaches attended the event and talk with prospective players - hundreds of high school juniors and seniors - about collegiate tennis.
“A lot of the colleges I want to go to are here today,” Dalleva said between her exhibition matches held in the Center’s indoor courts. Those on her list included Queens College, the University of Massachusetts and Stony Brook University in Long Island.
“I’m hoping that I can talk to some of the coaches,” she said.
In addition, Dalleva and other participants had the opportunity to attend a workshop with industry experts, who spoke to students about assessing how much they and their families could contribute towards college early on and the camaraderie of college tennis.
Anita Hagen, whose 17-year-old daughter Lauren Hagen is a senior at Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village, said she was impressed.
“It’s a good opportunity for the girls to meet coaches,” she said, while waiting with Lauren between exhibition matches - the first two of which Lauren won 7-5 and 8-6.
When asked why she attended the event, Lauren Hagen, who has been playing tennis for six years, conceded, “Colleges. I need to go to college.”
During the day, Lauren Hagen hoped to speak to the Chestnut Hill College coach, but at 10 a.m., she was entirely focused on the round-robin matches.
Her competition, she said, was fierce. “There are a lot of good girls out here today,” Lauren Hagen said.

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