One of the primary reasons that the 2017 University of California San Diego women's tennis team is flying high with a 14-1 dual match record and a No. 9 national ranking is the presence of redshirt junior Britta Mosser at the top of the lineup. Holding down the No. 1 singles position and pairing with Shannon Thiesen at No. 1 doubles, Mosser's steady play and leadership have been invaluable for veteran coach Liz LaPlante's Tritons. "Britta had some big shoes to fill with the graduation of her former teammate and doubles partner, Kyra Scott, but she has risen to the occasion and played with a tremendous amount of confidence," says LaPlante. "Her big shot-making game has proven very successful and she is beating some very strong No. 1 players. She is a very supportive team player and has a great attitude toward the game." As the team takes a competitive break during final exams week, Mosser talked about this year's squad, the improvements in her game and the different characteristics of her teammates.
Q: You return a significant portion of a good 2016 team but are you surprised to see your current team get off to a 14-1 start?
MOSSER: I wouldn't say that I am surprised, because we did so well last year and we worked so hard in preseason to get us ready for the tough matches we have to play. We are all so excited that we have been doing so well and hope we can accomplish what we did last year and more.
Q: From your perspective, what has been the secret to this team's success?
MOSSER: We trained really hard in the fall during preseason, but our team also has a lot of depth up and down the lineup. I feel like we could all play at any position and still succeed. Our freshmen are also very strong and have added a lot to our team.
Q: You played most of your singles matches at No. 3 the past two years. After moving into the No. 1 singles slot, you've held your own against some of the best D-II players in the nation. What part of your game do you feel is most improved?
MOSSER: Playing at the No. 1 spot is a whole new level so just having to compete with those players has really helped me improve. I think my confidence in my game has improved the most. Tennis is such a mental sport that having confidence in your game makes a huge difference. I've realized that I can keep up with my opponents which has led me to be able to succeed where I'm playing now.
Q: For the past two years, you've played at No. 1 doubles, pairing with Kyra Scott. Now, after she has graduated, you're teamed with senior Shannon Theisen. Is there a difference in chemistry and how you perceive your role in the new partnership?
MOSSER: Like you said, I played with Kyra the past two years so it was just easy to play together because we knew each other's games so well. We did really well last year and so we were very confident. Shannon is a completely different player than Kyra and so the whole year has just been us learning our strengths and weaknesses. We take one match at a time and try and figure out how to get better. We definitely have fun together.
Q: Fourteen of your team's first 15 dual matches have been at home. After finals, the team will make a trip to Georgia and Florida, facing three traditionally tough Division II opponents. What are you most looking forward to about this road trip?
MOSSER: I mean I'm definitely excited to travel to those places and play schools we don't usually play. We know the players in our region so well so we know what to expect for every match. These matches will be different because we don't know what to expect so I am excited to compete.
Q: Let's talk a bit about your teammates. Who is the toughest for you to play in practice? Who has the best forehand and best backhand?
MOSSER: Jasmine (Hosseini) is probably the hardest person for me to play because her game is not something I have figured out. We always have really long matches and she gets every ball back so she is a tough player to play. We are also such close friends that it is hard to have a real intense match out there. I think Alex (Weil) has the best forehand but we all have pretty good forehands which is why we tend to struggle with backhands. We avoid them.
Q: How about off the court. Which of your teammates is the smartest? Has the most unusual talent? Is the best singer?
MOSSER: Smartest is definitely Shannon (Theisen), which is why she is a math tutor for the athletic department and already has a job lined up for after she graduates. She also is a ventriloquist, which is probably the most unusual talent on our team. I think the best singer is Jasmine and she will perform for anyone if they ask.
Q: When did you start playing tennis? What is the first tennis experience you remember? What happened in your first tournament?
MOSSER: I started playing when I was four years old because my sisters played and I wanted to be like them. My first tournament was when I was seven and I vividly remember losing 6-0, 6-0 and I kept forgetting how to keep score. I was determined to get better after that loss.
Q: What's been your greatest and most embarrassing moments on a tennis court?
MOSSER: I think my greatest moment was winning West Regional doubles with Kyra last year. That was very exciting and then we got to travel to South Carolina to play nationals. I can't remember a specific moment but I am always embarrassed to lose easily. I have also definitely had my fair share of intense falls on the court that have added some pretty bad scars to my legs.
Q: You've said all-time great Roger Federer is your favorite athlete. What skill of his do you wish you had in your game?
MOSSER: Honestly, I would be happy with any part of his game. He is the best of all time! But I think I have always been so impressed with the way he is able to be so calm and collected on the court even if he playing an intense grand slam final, while most players would not be. I've always admired that about him. Also, he never looks tired!
Q: You have two older sisters who have played tennis in college—Chelsea (UC Santa Barbara) and Savannah (Emerson). Who would win in a round robin tournament today? Why?
MOSSER: Probably me because I don't think either of them have picked up a racket in a few years.
Q: Outside of tennis, what was the most competitive experience at your house growing up?
MOSSER: I grew up with two sisters so we just constantly fought over clothes. But other than that we were not too competitive with each other, not even in tennis. We have always supported each other.
Q: You're a public health major and have said one of your goals is to get a master's degree in nursing. What led you to that field, and what do you hope to do after finishing with school?
MOSSER: I went on a medical mission to the Philippines my senior year of high school with an organization that fixed cleft lips, palates, and burns. I was so inspired by the work of the doctors and nurses and ever since then I knew I wanted to be a nurse.
Q: Based on what you've seen so far, what is your team capable of this year?
MOSSER: We are trying to just take it match by match, but if we keep it up, I think we can come out being top two in the region and make it far in the NCAA tournament.
Previous Triton Q&A Features
Michael Cohn (Men's Swimming & Diving) February 22, 2017
Dalayna Sampton (Women's Basketball) February 8, 2017
Milosh Stojcic (Men's Volleyball) January 27, 2017
Chris Hansen (Men's Basketball) December 26, 2016
Cassie MacLeod (Women's Basketball) December 16, 2016
Natalie Tang (Women's Swimming & Diving) November 18, 2016
Nolan Mac (Men's Soccer) October 13, 2016
Scott Acton (Men's Cross Country) October 6, 2016
Marie Paris (Women's Volleyball) September 16, 2016
Kiera Bocchino (Women's Soccer) September 2, 2016
Nick Alexander (Men's Water Polo) August 23, 2016
Karina Carstens (Women's Cross Country) August 8, 2016
Amanda Colla (Women's Volleyball) July 22, 2016
Palano Twins (Men's Soccer) July 13, 2016
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