The Gem State has discovered a diamond in Marianna Petrei.
The Italian freshman tennis player already recorded history at the University of Idaho in just one season of play in Moscow.
Petrei earned 20 wins in singles play this season to lead the Vandals to the teamâ€™s second consecutive Big Sky title.
Idaho head coach Marianna Cobra quickly promoted the freshman to the No. 1 singles position after only a few weeks of play.
â€œA lot of time, No. 1 players are very selfish and isolate themselves from the team,â€ Cobra said. â€œThatâ€™s not Marianna at all. The way she acts everyday just reflects how successful she is on the court.â€
Petreiâ€™s incredible season began with a loss. Idaho faced Washington State in the first official match of the season, and Petrei was slated against Danika Bashota. At the time, Bashota was ranked No. 83 in the nation.
Petrei took the first set and took the second into a tiebreaker before falling to the Cougar standout. Her debut on the court was just a glimpse of what was to come.
The freshman went on to earn two Big Sky Player of the Week honors during the spring.
Petreiâ€™s impact on the team was not only in singles, but in doubles play as well. Her most common partner was sophomore Lucia Badillos, and the duo led the charge for Idahoâ€™s doubles performance.
Petrei said she is thankful for how the Vandal coaching staff and her teammates have helped her improve.
â€œIâ€™ve become more disciplined,â€ Petrei said. â€œHitting cross court and changing directions are things that have gotten better for me.â€
Petrei concluded the regular season with a nine-match win streak. Her last loss was in March when the team went on the road in Nevada.
Petrei said she is happy with her accomplishments, but said the performance is just a number. She said her real victory came with helping her team reach the Big Sky Tournament.
Petrei currently possesses one of the highest winning percentages in the history of the program with three more years of collegiate eligibility for the Vandals.
Cobra said she is excited to see Petrei perform throughout the next few seasons, especially in the fall.
â€œWe take the team to regionals in the fall,â€ Cobra said. â€œSheâ€™ll be ranked â€” I have no doubt about that. She will have a shot at winning regionals and going to New York. Weâ€™re hoping to get her to an All-American.â€
Cobra said one factor of the freshmanâ€™s success is her internal discipline.
â€œWhatever I tell her to do, she goes and does it,â€ Cobra said. â€œIf I tell her to do ten cartwheels, sheâ€™ll go and do twelve.â€
Brandon Hill can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @brandonmtnhillÂ Â