Tennis adds accomplished transfer

By Pat Bicanich | 9/4/13 7:04pm

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Courtesy / William Carey
Junior transfer Carola Orna


When it became time for junior tennis player Carola Orna to decided where she would continue her
career, she settled on decided to continue her tennis career at GVSU.

With her what she’s been able to accomplish in her career and where she started, that’s saying
something when you consider that she is an international student originally from Verona Italy, that
played her first two years of collegiate tennis nearly 1,000 miles from Allendale.

GVSU caught Orna’s attention because of its high academic standards and outstanding tradition in
athletics. She views it as an opportunity to experience a bigger city and see a different part of the
United States.

“I was looking for universities online and I found Grand Valley,” Orna said. “I really liked the
location and I did a lot of research about it. I started writing with coach Black and I realized that
Grand Valley was the right place for me.”

Orna has enjoyed her time at GVSU and said it is much different than her old school.

“I went to a small university in Mississippi,” Orna said. “Grand Valley is much larger and has more of
a college atmosphere. Everything on campus is new. It’s a lot of fun for me and I really like it.”

Orna made a name for herself at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She was a
standout at William Carey, playing No.1 singles and doubles while leading her team to the NAIA
national championship Match. She also was named an All-American in both singles and doubles.

Head coach John Black is excited to coach Orna and believes that she brings a lot to the table. Black
hopes that she will be able to add another dimension to the women’s roster.

“Carola is a very consistent ground stroker and keeps the ball deep,” Black said. “She’s a strong
volleyer and waits for a short one that she can capitalize on. She’s aggressive at the net which is a
great quality to have.”

Orna is slotted to play No. 1 or 2 doubles this fall, and figures to crack the starting lineup in singles
as well.

Black said Orna still has room to improve despite all of the success she’s had in the past. He also
thinks that she will benefit from playing better competition in the GLIAC.

“I don’t think she’s reached her full potential yet,” he said. “Once she gets acclimated to Grand
Valley and Michigan we will see her play continue to improve. It takes time to adjust to classes and
the difference in weather. I think she’ll enjoy the competition. They play solid tennis in the NAIA,
but there isn’t nearly as much depth as in Division II.”

Orna’s teammates are excited about the contribution that she will make this fall. Senior Niki
Chapman thinks her strong doubles play could put the Lakers over the top.

“We have struggled in doubles over the past couple seasons,” said Chapman. “We work a lot on
doubles in practice and we need to continue to improve. Carola is very consistent and has good
power which will help us a lot this year.”

Orna realizes that she has had a substantial amount of success in her past, but is more focused on
the team than individual accolades.

“I want to do my best on and off the court,” she said. “It’s not just about me. Its about the team. I
want to continue to grow close with my teammates and help the team as much as I can.”

Orna is enjoying her time at GVSU and has clicked with her new teammateshe’s gotten close with
them not only at practice, but spending time together off the court as well. . The chemistry they’re
creating and the experience coming back will hopefully help GVSU in their upcoming season.

Orna and the Lakers travel down to Canton, Ohio on Friday to kick off their season against Malone
College.

pbicanich@lanthorn.com

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