A historic career for redshirt senior Daniella Voloh has come full circle as both JMU and herself prepare for the 2023 Sun Belt tournament where the Dukes hold the No. 2 seed after going 9-1 in conference play. JMU awaits the winner of South Alabama vs. Louisiana in its quarterfinal matchup.
On April 14, Voloh earned her 87th singles win — the new program record — after defeating Georgia Southern freshman Nanaka Kijima in thrilling fashion 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 at no. 3 singles.
In her first season with JMU, Voloh helped the Dukes clinch their first conference championship in 2019, when she won at that same no. 3 spot in a 4-2 win against William & Mary.
As head coach Shelley Jaudon prepares her team to win what would be her third conference title since joining JMU in 2018 — the year she won the Dukes’ first conference title — she said that this record has been a long time coming for Voloh.
In reflecting on Voloh’s five years with the team, Jaudon said Voloh has always rose to the occasion throughout her JMU career and her accomplishments are a testament to her dedication to JMU women’s tennis.
“This season we’ve needed leadership, and she’s been the one to step up to the plate,” Jaudon said. “She’s just been on a tear and has stepped up to the challenge. She leads with her actions and then has also led with her results on match days.”
Since being moved to no. 3 singles for the March 25 match against Southern Miss, Voloh hasn’t lost a match at the spot. On top of a 6-0 record in singles, with one match unfinished to end the season, Voloh didn’t lose a doubles match with freshman Daria Munteanu, who went 19-3 and 9-0 in Sun Belt play.
Voloh’s dominance earned her Second Team All-Sun Belt singles honors and First Team All-Sun Belt doubles with Munteanu. Voloh and Munteanu haven’t lost a doubles match since Feb. 5 in the team’s loss to Louisville. Redshirt senior Kylie Moulin also earned First Team All-Sun Belt singles for her 8-2 record at no. 1 singles.
Outside of her place atop the record books, Voloh said this record means so much to her because of her passion for JMU's program and all her teammates along the way.
“The record really to me just shows how much I care about the team,” Voloh said. “Tennis has always been such an individual sport, and the thing that helped me get through all those matches is always thinking about the team and having that team-first mentality.”
This leadership hasn’t gone unnoticed by sophomore Hope Moulin. She said Voloh’s effort each day is apparent and she is the team’s main source of energy.
“She gives her 100% every day at practice, and a lot of people besides the girls on the team don’t see that,” Moulin said. “So for her to get recognized for breaking the record, it makes me very happy for her.”
The Dukes are riding off the high of a 4-3 win against Marshall on April 22 that ended the regular season as they await their quarterfinal matchup. After redshirt senior Daria Afanasyeva and freshman Reka Matko squeaked past Herd juniors Gabrielle Clairotte and Rieke Gillar 7-6 (6) for a crucial doubles point, JMU sophomore Ines Oliveira clinched the match with her 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 victory over freshman Andjela Lopicic.
Jaudon said everything both last fall and this spring has led to this moment, and everyone involved is ready to roll after conference play.
“We’re ready for this moment,” Jaudon said. “It’s a culmination of our entire year, which I think gives our team a lot of confidence because they know they’ve put in the work. They know they’re ready and it’ll be a fun week."