Athelete of the Week: Kelsey Fulkerson

by Taylor Deaton
Staff Writer

Transylvania women’s tennis continued its recent flurry of success with a commanding victory over Manchester College Saturday. The team took two of three doubles matches and five of six singles matches to unequivocally stake their claim as the best team in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference so far.

Their surge of success was headed by senior Kelsey Fulkerson, the team’s No. 1, who led by example in quickly defeating Manchester’s April Exleben in a two-set match, 6-1, 6-3, this after cruising to a relatively easy 8-2 doubles victory with partner Stephanie Townsend against Manchester’s pair of Exleben and Kara Gilley.

“Kelsey Fulkerson is the best player in the Heartland Conference,” said head coach Chuck Brown. “I think she is playing the best tennis of her career. She has improved her weaknesses and made her weapons even better. She plays smarter now and sets the tone for our team.”

Fulkerson’s long career in and around the game has contributed to her current role of team No. 1.

“I think something that makes me different from other players is the fact that I have been playing since I was 6 and every member of my family plays tennis,” said Fulkerson. “It’s definitely given me an advantage.”

Fulkerson’s recent success serves as just dessert for her years of unwavering commitment to practice and improve — a commitment that hasn’t gone unnoticed by her coaching staff, who remain encouraged about Fulkerson leading the team to great postseason success.

“Kelsey has turned into a leader for our team and the rest of the team look to her for that role,” Brown said. “I am very proud of how she has played this year and want another HCAC championship for her and this team. Our team this year is a very close group and we want to go to NCAA (tournament) again. The only ones that can stop us this year is us. We are currently in first place and plan on staying there.”

That confidence seems well warranted as the women’s record remains unblemished at 4-0, 3-0 in conference play. The Pioneers’ next contest is Saturday at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology at 1 p.m.

Since being named Heartland Conference Play of the Week, senior Kelsey Fulkerson has pushed her singles to 4-0.

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