MEAC TENNIS: B-CU's Peterson-Paul Courts Respect
By KEN HORNACK
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- When Shereen Peterson-Paul wraps up her tennis career at Bethune-Cookman, the Wildcats will in essence be losing more than one player.
For her to have one of the best records on the team in singles and doubles play is one thing. For another, her emergence as a complete, all-court player has made her valuable in so many ways.
“She’s one of the few girls who can change her style,” coach Tim Pleasant said. “She has an A, a B and a C game. Usually most girls have an A game, and you struggle to get a B game. But she’s got three, depending on her opponent. So she’s very flexible, and she’ll do what it takes to win a match.”
In more than just the geographic sense, the native of Canada has come a long way since she said she was enticed by “the lovely weather and a scholarship” to come to B-CU.
“The four years definitely flew by,” Peterson-Paul said. “And it’s quite exciting just because I’m entering a different career. I just want to see where maybe tennis can lead me and see how it goes from here.”
The upcoming Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament in Raleigh, N.C., will serve as her last hurrah before graduating next month with a degree in business administration. It could also be when she takes a step up from being a second-team all-conference selection a year ago.
Pleasant is optimistic about her chances.
“She’s pretty well-respected,” he said. “She’s been pretty good on the court, and other coaches and players like her.”
Peterson-Paul and Gaby Chinchilla have formed a potent 1-2 combination in singles play for the Wildcats. In Peterson-Paul’s case, her ability to slice the ball as well as serve and volley can keep opposing players off balance.
But her mental approach, particularly the development of patience, is where she believes she has improved the most.
“It’s huge,” she said. “You go through ups and downs, losses and wins, streaks and whatever. So it’s tough to be focused and remember that it’s a new match every time you set foot on the court.”
Peterson-Paul chose to come to B-CU sight unseen. She was playing in a tournament in Trinidad at the time she was scheduled to visit after expressing her interest in the school via email.
As it turned out, she has no regrets about that choice.
“I heard great things about the school and decided to just go with it,” she said.
“She’s been a good student-athlete for B-CU and hopefully (will be) a good alumnus,” Pleasant added.