Monica Robinson signed a letter of intent to play college tennis with the University of Notre Dame.
Robinson, who played tennis for the Fallbrook High School team under the multi-school teams status arrangement which lets Oasis High School students participate in Warrior athletics, was one of 117 high school seniors who signed letters of intent Nov. 14 at the San Diego Hall of Champions.
“It’s really exciting to be with a bunch of athletes who are going through the same process,” Robinson said. “It was just a really exciting moment.”
Robinson was one of five tennis players who signed at the Hall of Champions. The ceremony also included comments from San Diego Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin, who played baseball for University High School in San Diego before signing an athletic letter of intent with Stanford University.
“It’s very exciting,” said Oasis principal Melissa Marovich.
“It was pretty exciting for me as a coach,” said Fallbrook High School tennis coach Dave Ramirez, who has also given Robinson lessons at the Fallbrook Tennis Club since Robinson was 12.
“I’m proud of her,” Ramirez said. “She’s worked really hard for this opportunity.”
Robinson was also considering Pepperdine University, the University of San Diego, Texas Tech, and Georgia Tech. While she was seeking a strong college tennis program, academic factors influenced her decision to choose Notre Dame. “Notre Dame is the number one business school in the nation,” Robinson said.
Notre Dame’s women’s tennis team was ranked 19th in 2012. “The girls were all really great,” Robinson said of meeting the tennis team during her visit. “It will be a nice experience for me.”
Jay Louderback is Notre Dame’s tennis coach. “He’s run a successful program over there,” Robinson said.
“We’re very excited,” Louderback said of Robinson signing with the Fighting Irish. “Both academically and athletically she’s a great fit here.”
Louderback noted that Robinson’s athleticism was the major factor in Notre Dame’s interest in her. “Monica is a very fast and athletic player. She is a very good counterpuncher with the ability to be more aggressive,” he said.
Louderback explained that the Fighting Irish have indoor tennis matches which favor bigger and stronger players who can hit the ball harder, but the NCAA season involves outdoor matches. “We’ve done much better here with kids who play more of an all-around game,” Louderback said. “She can really do pretty much anything.”
Louderback added that Robinson is now ranked as one of the top 40 players in the nation. “She hasn’t played that long nationally,” Louderback said. “We really feel like she’s got a long way she can still go.”
Notre Dame’s football team was ranked third in the nation when Robinson signed her letter of intent, and the Fighting Irish took over the #1 spot the following Sunday. During her visit Robinson saw the Fighting Irish host Purdue on Sept. 8 and defeat the Boilermakers by a 20-17 score. “She got to see a pretty good football team,” Louderback said.
Robinson also was able to go onto Notre Dame’s football field. “The football game was just a really great experience for me when I went,” she said.”The spirit was just really great, all the traditions that Notre Dame has.”
Louderback added that Robinson got along well with Notre Dame’s current tennis players. “They enjoyed her visit here,” he said. “She had a great visit when she came.”
Robinson has not yet declared a major but is leaning towards business. She is also contemplating a possible psychology or pre-medical major. She hopes to attend graduate school after obtaining her degree from Notre Dame. “I don’t have plans of going on the pro tour,” she said.
Robinson took a cumulative 4.4 grade point average into her final high school semester. “Monica’s awesome,” Marovich said.
Robinson was born in Redlands and moved to the western part of Valley Center when she was a toddler. Although an interdistrict transfer cannot be granted for athletic reasons, Robinson’s parents both have their medical offices in Fallbrook (her father is a general practitioner and her mother is a pediatrician); she attends Riverview Free Evangelical Church in Bonsall, and she had attended Zion Lutheran School in seventh and eighth grades. “All my life was pretty much in Fallbrook,” she said.
That included her activity at the Fallbrook Tennis Club after taking up the sport at age 12. “I really fell in love with it,” she said. “It’s just a great sport.”
Robinson noted that tennis has an element of competitiveness which is balanced with sportsmanship. “It’s you and your opponent on the court,” she said. “You have a respect for that player, too.”
Until Robinson focused on tennis she also played soccer, softball, basketball, and volleyball. “I was pretty busy with other sports,” she said.
Robinson attended Fallbrook High School in ninth and tenth grades before transferring to Oasis so that she could do some of her coursework at home or elsewhere and participate in out-of-town tennis tournaments. “I started at a late age playing tennis, so I needed to catch up to those girls,” she said.
Robinson was on Fallbrook’s tennis team as a ninth-grader. She focused on tournaments and did not play high school tennis during her sophomore year. She returned to the tennis team when Ramirez allowed Robinson to miss any high school matches which conflicted with tournaments.
As a junior, Robinson won the Avocado East League individual singles championship and reached the CIF individual tournament finals before a loss to Rancho Bernardo’s Jana McCord. McCord, who is also a senior this year, signed with Texas A&M at the Nov. 14 ceremony.
McCord and Robinson visited Notre Dame together. “I’m really happy for her that she chose them,” McCord said.
Robinson won the Avocado West League singles championship as a senior and reached the CIF individual finals before losing to Patrick Henry junior Victoria Robertson in three sets.
“It’s pretty nice; it’s a good feeling to be a part of her progress and her accomplishments,”
“I’ll definitely miss him when I go to Notre Dame,” Robinson said of Ramirez.
Although she did not play any other sports in high school, Robinson was active in Warriors for Christ and was also active in the Riverview Free Evangelical youth group.
Notre Dame has eight tennis scholarships, so most of the Fighting Irish team members play as true freshmen rather than redshirt. “They pretty much play all four years,” Louderback said. “I think she’ll make a big impact both in the singles and in our doubles lineup.”
“I’m just really excited for the opportunity and really blessed,” Robinson said.