Tennis players make Loyola program history


Maria DiFelice

Sophomore Lucy Carpenter (left) and junior Fatima Vasquez (right) made Loyola program history as the first doubles team to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cup.

Two students on Loyola’s women’s tennis team qualified for a national tournament in October, making them the first doubles players in university tennis history to do so.
Sophomore Lucy Carpenter and junior Fatima Vasquez became the first Loyola doubles team, men or women, to ever qualify for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cup, the national tennis tournament for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The pair said being a part of Loyola’s history and representing the university is an honor.
“I think that it is something that not too many people could say, and it definitely motivates me to work harder,” Vasquez said.
The pair received an invite to participate in the national tournament after reaching the finals of the regional competition held at Xavier University.
This was the second consecutive trip to the national tournament for Carpenter, who also became the first singles player from Loyola to qualify for the tournament last season and was named conference Freshman of the Year.
In their first season playing together, Carpenter and Vasquez posted a 6-2 winning record over the 2020-2021 season and were both named First Team All-Southern States Athletic Conference.
Both women have been playing tennis since they were five and took unique paths to get to Loyola.
Carpenter, a New York native, said that Loyola was the right choice for her.
“The sense of community I felt when meeting the tennis team and members of the staff at Loyola really stood out to me when I was making my decision,” Carpenter said.
Vasquez said someone from home in Peru was on Loyola’s tennis team and talked to her about playing for the university. After doing some research, Vasquez said she knew she wanted to join.
“I knew that I wanted to combine school and tennis in college and that the U.S. was the right place to do it,” Vasquez said.
Vasquez said playing in the intercollegiate championship was a major achievement because she only played singles before college.
“I hated doubles,” Vasquez said. “However, now I have learned new strategies and how to trust myself so my partner can trust me. And I love playing doubles with Lucy because we both push each other to get better.”
Carpenter said her relationship with Vasquez contributes to her own level of play.
“We are really great friends off the court, so that makes it super easy to communicate during matches and provides a comforting, supportive presence during high-pressure situations,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter and Vasquez want to carry this momentum into the spring season, as both the women’s and men’s teams look to win Southern States Athletic Conference titles and bring more players back to Rome, Georgia this year for the tournament.
“They definitely enjoy playing together and both know they have each other’s back,” said Matthew Llewellyn, head coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams. “It’s really cool to see that evolve.”