Lambert hopes to finish well

Danny Chen

From seventh grade varsity tennis to being one of MinnesotaâÄôs best singles players, Aria Lambert has excelled in every level of competition sheâÄôs played. In her four years at Minnesota, Lambert has compiled a total of 78 singles victories so far, which puts her ninth in program history. By winning her match against Iowa last weekend, Lambert passed alumna Alessandra Ferrazzi, who has 76 wins. âÄúItâÄôs pretty exciting,âÄù Lambert said. âÄúWhen I reached my 65th win âÄî that got me on the list. I didnâÄôt even know that I was close to making it or anything. I was pretty surprised, but after that, my goal was to try to get into the top 10, which is pretty cool.âÄù Head coach Chuck Merzbacher said Lambert has really improved since he first met her as a sophomore three years ago when he was hired. Merzbacher replaced former head coach Tyler Thomson, who originally recruited Lambert to play at Minnesota. âÄúWe added a little more aggressive play to her game,âÄù Merzbacher said. âÄúSheâÄôs already consistent as a player, but once we added the aggressiveness, sheâÄôs just such a tough out.âÄù LambertâÄôs consistency can be traced back to when she started playing varsity tennis as a seventh-grader for Minnetonka High School. The following year, as an eighth-grader, she was an all-conference selection. LambertâÄôs older high school teammates helped turn her into the player sheâÄôs become. âÄúI was the youngest one on the team, and I looked up to all the girls,âÄù Lambert said. âÄúThey were super nice to me and made me feel welcomed.âÄù In high school, Lambert showed that sheâÄôs an elite tennis player. As a freshman, she finished second in the state tournament. She followed that up with back-to-back Class AA state singles championships during her sophomore and junior years at Minnetonka. âÄúSince the start of high school tennis, I always wanted to win state,âÄù Lambert said. âÄúIt was super satisfying to finally reach that goal.âÄù LambertâÄôs high school success led her to the No. 39 ranking in the country during her senior year and scholarship offers from several colleges. She took unofficial visits to Syracuse, Marquette and Wisconsin. But she said she always knew that she wanted to play in her home state with the Gophers. âÄúI visited [Minnesota], and I knew I wanted to come here right away,âÄù Lambert said. âÄúI also grew up playing tournaments here. I love Minnesota, and I loved the girls on the team.âÄù After spending four years at Minnesota with her, senior Tereza Brichacova said she has never seen LambertâÄôs competitive mentality waver. âÄúShe has accomplished a lot of things, and I think that she just goes into every match trying to win,âÄù Brichacova said. âÄúShe doesnâÄôt back down on the court, and she fights.âÄù Down to the final stretch of her senior year, Lambert said she hopes to continue her success and move up in career singles wins. âÄúI just want to win as many matches as I can and hopefully continue up in the rankings,âÄù she said. âÄúIt would be cool to finish up my college career on a good note.âÄù