Tennis winds up for ULL Invitational

As September comes to a close, another Demon sports team’s season begins. Lady Demon Tennis will compete in its first tournament of the year at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Invitational Sept. 29-30.

Though the official tennis season does not start until the spring, team members are already hard at work tweaking and perfecting their skills.

Junior Polina Mutel said she is excited for the upcoming tournament and explained that though it is not the official season yet, the fall tournaments are still important.

“Practice during the fall is probably more intense because we are working on our strategy, movements [and] conditioning,” she said.

The team has a diverse roster, including six international students from Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain and Ukraine.

Mutel, from Yaroslavl, Russia, has played tennis for 16 years. She chose NSU to play collegiate tennis because she knew the coach, Olga Bazhanova, was Russian and felt it would be easier to work with her.

“I knew some players, [too], so I knew that the team was going to be really good,” she said.

Bazhanova was at NSU for nine years as a player, assistant coach and then as the head tennis coach for three seasons before stepping down in May 2017. She led the Lady Demons to the final round of six Southland Conference tournaments.

Mutel said the team has become like a family to her and that her confidence has grown since joining the Lady Demons. Though she gets nervous for tournaments, she knows she can rely on her teammates.

“Even though I’m a junior, I still get nervous…but it is still fun to play,” she said. “I just want to…know that I did everything that I could [during a match].”

Though all four of the tournaments in the fall season are away from home, scores and game recaps will be posted on