Norfolk, Va. - The word "grinder" has a definition - it means tough, gritty - someone who is willing to do what it takes to get the job done. The word also describes Nika Khomolovska. It is also the best part of her game.
"I'm a ginder. I'm there until the opponent just dies. I can play for hours and hours. It is all about energy. That's my thing. Being positive, supportive, yelling "go Monarchs" and bringing all this energy into the game."
That energy is the reason why she was named team captain. The senior from Ukraine has her team off to a fantastic start this year with a record of four and one. Head Coach Dominic Manilla attributes this year's success to his senior.
"Spend some time with her, and you will find she is phenomenal. Her attitude, her play, and the way she rubs off on people. This is one of the reasons why we are successful."
Part of the success is the facility in which they play. It's the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center, one of the the best indoor arenas in collegiate play.
"This is a great facility and one of the main reasons why I came to Old Dominion. Other teams are jealous of us when they come here. We can play all year long."
The team is focused on being ranked this year. And in order to get that done, they need to keep 'putting up the w's'.
"It is always important to get the w's - we are always expecting w's and we settle for nothing else but w's."
Playing since she was four years old, Nika knows one thing about the game of tennis - and that is you play to the last point.
"It is never over because once you think you have your opponent, then you have lost. Keep grinding to the end and keep on battling."
The battle for Nika and the team continues this weekend, when they host Richmond and Temple.