Batsula, Moskaliova make long trek to find tennis success at ETSU
Olya Batsula & Vita Moskaliova
Olya Batsula & Vita Moskaliova

Thursday, May 11, 2006

When one looks at Olya Batsula and Vita Moskaliova they appear to be like most other students on the campus of East Tennessee State University. But unlike most students, the girls hail from the small country of Belarus.

 

When asked about the differences between their hometown and Johnson City, the girls smile and laugh as they talk about life back home.

 

"The town is bigger because it is the capital," said Batsula "It's a different way of life over there. The buildings and the people are all different."

 

Moskaliova agreed saying, "It's very different, and people walk instead of driving. People here are a lot friendlier though, they smile even if they don't know you."

 

Even though they are a year apart in school, the girls have been friends for years although they disagree on how long they have known each other. Vita claims they were friends as very young children while Olya says they first became friends when they started practicing with the same coach.

 

Either way, these two girls share a very close relationship. It was Batsula's decision to come to ETSU that led Moskaliova here. "I basically dragged her here," laughs Batsula.

 

While most college freshmen are learning to transition to being away from home, Moskaliova had to learn a whole new culture. But with Batsula's support she has adjusted well.

 

"She helped with the language and just explained things to me. It's a very different country," said Moskaliova.

 

As teammates, roommates, and friends, the girls spend most of their days together. When they are looking for some fun, they can generally be found out with their other teammates or in their room listening to music or making fun of each other.

 

The girls also like to walk to Kroger and pick up free cookies. "Free cookies can make you go a long way," says Batsula.

 

Batsula, whose sophomore season with the Lady Bucs is currently winding down, holds a 26-9 singles record and holds the single season record for doubles wins, winning an impressive 28 matches.

 

After overcoming a rough 5-7 start during fall tournament action, Moskaliova went on to win 19 matches during dual play.

 

After helping the team win its first ever conference title, the girls have experienced a range of emotions. "This year the team was so good, we all worked together hard, and I knew it was coming. I knew what we had to do, it was something I expected, but I was so happy when it finally did happen," said Batsula. Moskaliova added, "I can't compare it to anything since this is my first season. But I'm very excited for us to be doing so well."

 

After having successful individual seasons, the girls are both excited and ready to continue their season as the team is set to face No. 12 Vanderbilt in the NCAA Championships. Follow all the action on www.etsubucs.com.

 

By Laura Johnson
ETSU Media Relations
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