Spring Signing Week '14: Gaels Bring in Banner Class
by Rhiannon Potkey, 14 April 2014
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Emma Critser and Kareena Manji formed a successful tandem when they won a National Open Girls 18 doubles title together last summer.
The two five-star recruits will be extending their partnership a bit longer as both have signed to play at St. Mary's College
in Moraga, Calif.
"I am so happy to be teammates with Emma the next four years," Manji said. "After winning the National Open together, we have become really good friends. Our games complement each other well for doubles and I am looking forward to competing with her the next four years."
Critser, a Northern California native from Mountain View, and Manji, a Southern California native from Thousand Oaks, chose Saint Mary's for similar reasons.
They both liked the school's small community atmosphere, the more personalized academic attention and the coaching staff's passion.
"I could not be happier with the tennis aspect of Saint Mary's. The coaches, Lisa and Kat, have already been so helpful and understanding," said Critser, who also considered Santa Clara and UC Santa Barbara. "They seem like the kind of enthusiastic coaches that I have been searching for my entire junior career."
Manji emailed practically every ranked program in the nation during her sophomore year before narrowing her options.
"After visiting a few schools, I realized I wanted a smaller campus in California. Saint Mary's just has the whole package. It has the academics, the solid coaching staff, a friendly close team, a great campus location and the new recreation center being built," Manji said. "I wanted a school where I was going to play, not just sit on the bench, which made it easy for me to realize I wanted a school ranked between 25-45."
By attending Saint Mary's, Critser will become a friendly rival of her older sister, Samantha, who is a redshirt junior at Santa Clara.
But Critser expects the Saint Mary's team to become almost like a second family.