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Marianna Argyrokastriti wants to stand along ASU women's tennis greats

The senior, who is 6-1 on the season, wants to leave an impact on the program through her passionate leadership


ASU senior Marianna Argyrokastriti celebrates after a point at Whiteman Tennis Center on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Tempe. ASU beat UC Davis 7-0.

Women's tennis is the only sport that has been played continuously at ASU since the 19th century, and Marianna Argyrokastriti wants to be a part of the program's long and illustrious history.

Sun Devil tennis has a long history at ASU. It was added as a sport when the University was still called the Territorial Normal School, even before Arizona was a state. It takes a lot to leave a mark on the program; however Argyrokastriti, a senior, said leaving an indelible mark has been her goal since she was a freshman.

"I always knew I wanted a leadership position in the group," Argyrokastriti said. "Even as a freshman, I felt like I wanted to leave an impact on the program."

With a 6-1 singles record this season for the No. 23 Sun Devils, Argyrokastriti has a good chance to do just that. She has the best singles record out of all seniors, at 45-15, even after an injury-shortened sophomore season.

That sophomore season, she went undefeated in the Pac-12 Championships, leading ASU to their first final appearance in the Pac-12. During her junior year, she was ranked as high as No. 84 in singles matches by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. 

Unfortunately, that injury could take away her chance of standing amongst ASU women's tennis legends like Adria Engel and Pam Richmond Champagne. However, her impact on the program might not have to do with her statistics but rather her passion for the game, which head coach Sheila McInerney said is an important part of her leadership.

"Marianna is one of these kids; she just loves to play tennis," McInerney said. "She's got a passion for life. People are just sort of gravitated towards her for that passion of the sport."

Her journey as a leader has been influenced by her former teammates as well. Argyrokastriti said that she learned from — and now relates to — the seniors who led her during her freshman year, even about what not to do in a leadership position.

"I've learned a lot from my seniors at the time," Argyrokastriti said. "Especially now, this year, as a senior, I just get them more ... I understand why they acted that way or why they said those things."

Coming into her senior year, the Sun Devils added three freshmen to the roster. One of them is Emilija Tverijonaite, Argyrokastriti's primary doubles partner, who said that Argyrokastriti helped her at the start of the season.

"She led me through how everything works and how the team is supposed to be," Tverijonaite said. "She has good team spirit."

During a four-game home stand, the then No. 25 Sun Devils lost to No. 1 Oklahoma State, 0-4. After sweeping her last match against Arkansas, Argyrokastriti could not pull out a win in a match that was unfinished against the Cowboys. She said the locker room was tense following the loss, which was good.

"It wasn't fun; people were very out of it," Argyrokastriti said. "It was a disappointing loss. We know we can compete against good teams. So yeah, just frustrated. I think that it has been the vibe in the locker room these days, which is a good thing."

While she is one of the best players on the team, her passion continues to drive her and the team this season. McInerney said that her passion for the game keeps her going.

"Her work ethic, her passion," McInerney said. "You just have to make sure that you keep a positive attitude and keep that energy around, you know, stay super positive."

Edited by Shane Brennan, Walker Smith and Caera Learmonth.

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