Athlete Spotlight: Lorena Rionda

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 Andrew Pawling

Lorena Rionda has been an anchor for Florida Southern women’s tennis team for the past four years. Now, in her senior season, she is in the final chapter of her legacy of success and dedication. 

Rionda began playing tennis at the age of six. She credits her first coach in Spain, and her father as the biggest influencers of her career, sitting her father as her biggest supporter. 

It was in a national tournament in Spain where she had one of her fondest memories on the court. As a 14-year-old, Rionda competed in an elite eight competition in Ibiza against the other top seven players from her age group. 

As far as Florida Southern, Rionda feels that the team has improved a lot during her time here. Their recent win against No.2 West Florida is one of the highlights of her time as a Moc. 

“We have four seniors and four juniors which helps to create good structure and we have good team chemistry after playing together in past years.” Rionda said. 

Rionda is in the midst of her senior season, and according to head coach Trish Riddell, has improved since her freshman year.

“Lorena came in as a fairly quiet person, and her playing style matches that as she came here as more of a defensive player,” Riddell said. “She’s worked incredibly hard on adding variety to her game to enable her to be a little more aggressive.” 

Rionda was named the team’s most-improved player following her freshman year. She was also named team MVP her sophomore and junior year in addition to being named to the SSC Commissioner’s Honor Roll in her first three years at FSC. 

“She’s grown not only through her on court success but being very much a team player, looking out for the team and being a little more vocal than she was,” Riddell said. 

Rionda wants to finish her career on a high note and is looking for continued success from her entire team through the remainder of their season. 

Rionda said that the culture at FSC has caused her to grow up a lot over the past four years and she will leave college far more knowledgeable than she was when she first arrived as a freshman. 

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