first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ UPDATED: Jan. 30, 2018 at 12:14 a.m.Nearly three weeks ago, Sofya Golubovskaya was in Moscow, Russia, preparing to leave the only place she ever called home. Her future involved playing tennis for Syracuse, a team that had recruited her since the summer of 2017.It was a “spontaneous decision,” Golubovskaya said.Golubovskaya arrived in Syracuse on Jan. 10 and was playing her first collegiate match 11 days later. Since joining the team, Golubovskaya has racked up three convincing wins, including two 6-0 doubles victories, to help contribute to SU’s 3-0 record to start the season. While her talent was on display in matches against Niagara and Colgate, her health will be a major factor in deciding her role for this team. She’s battled an unspecified leg injury early this season.SU head coach Younes Limam first met Golubovskaya at an International Tennis Federation tournament in Finland last summer. After watching her play three singles matches, Limam wanted Golubovskaya on his team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It was a no brainer to recruit her,” Limam said, “We knew she would have a big impact on this team from the start.”Limam met with Golubovskaya and her family after the tournament. Before she met Limam, Golubovskaya had never considered coming to America for the long-term. The only time she was ever in the United States was a trip to Miami when she was 11 years old.“My mom told me ‘Maybe you want to change something in your life,’” Golubovskaya said, “and I was like ‘yeah, let’s do it.’”Although she had made up her mind to attend SU after meeting Limam, Golubovskaya had to wait to be cleared by the NCAA. She needed to take the SAT, be approved by the NCAA clearinghouse and be admitted into Syracuse.She took a gap semester after her spring 2017 high school graduation in which she spent the vast majority of her time preparing to play American tennis. In late December, Golubovskaya was cleared by the NCAA and Limam told his players that she would officially join the team for the spring semester.At first, Golubovskaya was hesitant to bond with the team, junior Gabriela Knutson said.Golubovskaya is the only freshman on a team stacked with a sophomore, four juniors, a senior and a graduate student. Activities like cheering for teammates were new for her, Knutson said, because she was not accustomed to doing that in Russia.“We didn’t act like she was some new person when she arrived,” Knutson said, “she became one of us right away.”In her first singles match of the season, Golubovskaya handled Niagara’s Andreea Peteau with her backhand in a smooth two-set victory. That win gives her confidence to keep being aggressive and competing in the future, she said after that singles win.After cruising to a 6-0 doubles win alongside Libi Mesh on Friday against Colgate, Golubovskaya said she could “barely run or walk.” She received treatment directly after the match, but said it didn’t help her right away. Though she did not compete on Sunday against Columbia, Limam is hopeful Golubovskaya can begin practicing by Tuesday.“There are going to be good and bad days,” Liman said. “She just has to communicate with all of us how she is feeling.”CORRECTION: In a previous version of this post, Masha Tritou was misidentified in a photo caption. The Daily Orange regrets this error. Comments Published on January 29, 2018 at 11:09 pm Contact KJ: [email protected] | @KJEdelmanlast_img

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