Junior Nikki Chiricosta has played tennis her whole life, family influence

Nikki+Chiricosta%2C+BG+tennis+player%2C+takes+a+backhand+swing+to+a+ball+coming+her+way.

Nikki Chiricosta, BG tennis player, takes a backhand swing to a ball coming her way.

Nikki Chiricosta has been around the game of tennis all her life. She has grown up playing tennis and it is no surprise when she comes from the family she does.

Chiricosta comes from a long line of tennis players. Every member of her family has played tennis at the collegiate level, so Nikki did what she knew best: played tennis.

“As soon as I could walk, my mom had me at the tennis courts,” Chiricosta said.

Chiricosta’s parents, Rick and Sheila, both played tennis at the University of Toledo. Her brother, Matt, played tennis at Allegheny College and her sister, Christine, who holds the school record for career wins, was a senior on the 2010-11 BG tennis team.

Being the youngest isn’t always a bad thing though, because Chiricosta [Nikki] may be the best of the bunch.

In high school, at Avon Lake, Chiricosta was a three-time All-Ohio selection, multiple-time Southwestern conference and Lorain County player of the year, four-time Southwestern conference singles champion and two-time national open doubles champion.

Success on the tennis court has come natural for Chiricosta and she has been able to carry that success to the college level.

“She adjusted so much faster than other freshman and knew what to expect on a day in and day out basis,” said head coach Penny Dean.

Some of that may be attributed to having a sister on the team coming in as a freshman, but don’t take anything away from Chiricosta’s abilities.

As a sophomore last season, Chiricosta was awarded first team All-MAC honors, something she is very proud of.

“It meant a lot to me because as a freshman that was my goal to get all conference honors, but I didn’t get it, so I worked really hard,” Chiricosta said.”The fact that I was able to make first team was even better, achieving that was special.”

Separating yourself from the rest of the tennis players in the MAC is not an easy feat, and coach Dean accredits her attitude as a big reason why she has.

“She has an expect-to-win attitude and goes out there and does it,” Dean said. “She is just a fighter. She fights for every single point and every single ball. There are no easy points against her for her opponent.”

After achieving first team All-MAC, Chiricosta is proving to be a very special tennis player and one of the best in school history.

Chiricosta has the potential to surpass her sister, Christine, as the school record holder for career wins, but Nikki doesn’t want to get caught up in that just yet.

“It’s a goal for me, but it’s not a priority because if I think about that I’ll just be too nervous out there,” Chiricosta said. “She [Christine] did say if she wanted anyone to break it, it would be me though.”

For now, Chiricosta is just focused on the upcoming season.

But her whole life has been focused on getting her here, tennis is all she has ever known, and for good reason: it runs in her blood.