Drake women’s tennis welcomed new Bulldogs to their team this season. One of these new Bulldogs, first-year Oriana Parkins-Godwin from Kingston upon Thames in the United Kingdom, committed to Drake last fall after being recruited by former head coach Kristina Lott.
Parkins-Godwin is currently enrolled in the honors program at Drake and is majoring in economics.
Parkins-Godwin explained that she was drawn to Drake by both the tennis team as well as the academic programs that Drake has to offer.
“After talking to Coach Lott, a couple of times I had the chance to talk to some of the other players on the team. After the phone call that I had with them, I was able to learn more about Drake from a student’s perspective, and I just thought the team was amazing and very welcoming,” Parkins-Godwin said. “Another thing that drew me to Drake was the activities and clubs available here are very diverse and different from other universities.”
Parkins-Godwin chose economics because she is excited to expand her current knowledge and explore opportunities for future work in the field.
Prior to college tennis, Parkins-Godwin had been playing tennis for 12 years. During junior tennis, Parkins-Godwin competed in the Babolat Cup in 2016 which earned her a paid trip to Paris to watch The French Open. Parkins-Godwin had reached the third round in her first ITF junior tournament in Antalya.
Before playing tennis, Parkins-Godwin played multiple sports, including netball, rounders, cross country and some field sports.
She chose tennis because she enjoyed how points are constructed and trying to work out which patterns of play work well against different opponents.
Heading to America for school in August was not the first time that Parkins-Godwin has been to the states. Parkins-Godwin and her family took a trip to New York when she was younger for about two months.
When Parkins-Godwin started her recruiting process, Lott reached out to her first and expressed interest in having her come to Drake. The two talked about her game style and how she would be a great addition to the team as well as how she would fit in well at Drake.
“I knew I wanted to play at a level where there was strong competition and a drive to be the best,” Parkins-Godwin said about playing at the D1 level. “I wanted there to be passion and fire within the team, which can be seen at a D1 level.”
Parkins-Godwin is ready to compete in her first fall tournament in a couple of weeks, at the Missouri Valley Conference Individual tournament. She is ready to use her favorite shot, her serve to set up her points and win some matches for Drake.
“Oriana is a great addition to the program,” Interim Head Coach James McManus said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what she is going to accomplish these next couple of years here at Drake both on the tennis court and in the classroom.”
The Bulldogs will play in the Missouri Valley individual tournament at Missouri State on October 6th.