Irvine’s Perfect Partners
In sync: Schweyer and Facey helped the ’Eaters to the Big West Championships with a flawless league record.
“It’s just another day in paradise,” doubles partners Brooke Schweyer and Ali Facey always say before each match.
Schweyer and Facey finished Big West play undefeated with a perfect 8-0 record this season.
“Just to make the nerves calm down a little bit,” redshirt sophomore Schweyer said, “I always tell [Ali] it’s just a tennis match. What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen today? We’re going to lose, that’s the worst thing, and that’s not that bad.”
“And the pressure comes off,” sophomore Facey added.
Finishing each other’s sentences is just a reflection of the harmony the two display on the court and the synchronization that resulted in a perfect record in league.
With one of the most standout women’s tennis seasons this year, the two attribute the team’s recent success to their coaches and the team chemistry.
Assistant coach Dianne Matias, who played her undergraduate career at USC as a Trojan, was first an assistant coach at Irvine from 2008 to 2009. Following that season, Matias joined the University of Maryland’s coaching staff as an assistant before being elevated to head coach in 2011. After her stint on the east coast, Matias is back in Orange County as an assistant under head coach Mike Edies, who is currently in his 17th season with the ’Eaters.
Ali Facey: “Our team is doing so well.”
Brooke Schweyer: “The chemistry on our team is so good.”
AF: “It’s amazing.”
BS: “Everyone is always fired up.”
AF: “Coach Dianne [Matias] is a huge part of our success.”
BS: “She’s an amazing coach.
“Our fitness program and our practice time, what we actually do in practice and how we spend the time, is playing a big part. [Matias] has it all mapped out to the minute. We haven’t had someone as disciplined as that before, and she’s also so sweet that everyone wants to do well,” Schweyer said.
“We all look up to her,” Facey said.
Matias, combined with Edies’ positive attitude, led the team to the Big West Championship, where the ’Eaters eventually fell to Long Beach State 4-1 after an impressive 22-4 season.
The doubles pair divulged that Edies will share inspirational quotes and always repeats, “Winning is not an outcome, it is a process” — a process that began years ago for both Schweyer and Facey.
Facey, who is the twin sister to teammate Kat Facey, was born with a racquet in her hand. With a mother who coached tennis and played at Auburn University in Alabama all four years, Facey was playing the family sport around the age of two or three years old.
Facey has played tennis competitively for as long as she can remember and decided to partake in homeschooling her junior year of high school in order to dedicate as much time to her athletic endeavors as possible.
As a northern California native, Ali knew always knew she wanted to attend a university in southern California, and subsequently committed to UCI in October of her final year before college.
Schweyer’s process was more atypical.
As a standout and one of the nation’s best at 11 years old, Schweyer played three levels up in the under 16 division.
Despite making noise in the tennis world, Brooke decided not to play during middle school. Instead, Schweyer got involved in cheerleading for a pop warner football team and “enjoyed being young.”
Once in high school, Schweyer picked up a racquet once again and decided to seriously pursue the sport.
“I had one year to show coaches that I was playing,” Schweyer said of her junior year of high school. “Most players have a big history of tournaments, and I didn’t have very much. When I was little, I was super, super good so they could look at that, but I stopped so there was this weird gap period. Coaches would ask me what happened. And nothing happened, I just decided to do other things.”
With a high school sweetheart two years her senior who was playing baseball at UCI, Schweyer was already familiar with the campus when it came time to make a decision about college.
“I knew I wanted to come here, I loved it,” Schweyer said.
Once at UCI, Schweyer went 15-15 her first year in singles and was 3-7 in doubles.
To begin her sophomore campaign, Schweyer was 1-4 in singles and 2-1 in doubles before an injury ended her season and forced a medical redshirt.
Now, easing back into the 2013 season, Schweyer has only been playing doubles, which was a factor in the fateful pairing of Schweyer and Facey.
BS: “We balance each other out. Ali has a big serve, I don’t, although it’s getting better.”
AF: “It is! You’ve been working on it.”
BS: “I feel like we both have really good volleys, we do well at the net together.”
AF: “We figure each other out.”
BS: “It’s like telepathy.”
“I love playing doubles,” Facey said. “I’d say I like it a little bit more than I like playing singles. It’s a little bit more relaxing, I feel like it’s a little bit more fun.”
While the Schweyer/Facey team dominates on the court, they have help from a third party — Brooke’s mother.
“My mom is our biggest fan,” Schweyer said. “She comes to every match.”
“She really is a huge fan,” Facey said. “Sometimes she’ll get me out of a funk, and gets me smiling.”
While both have their families’ support, “We always have a good fan section,” Schweyer said.
As the doubles pair complement each other on and off the court, they also share the same philosophy when it comes to their sport.
“Tennis is a commitment, and it takes a lot of motivation and passion,” Schweyer said.
“And focus,” Facey added.
Suitable for half of a doubles pair, Schweyer said that she chose tennis for the team aspect.
“I love when you’re a part of a bigger purpose.”
While both are also academically inclined, the two know their purpose at UCI includes both academics and athletics.
Facey will attend the Student Athlete banquet this season, and Schweyer, who has a 3.85 GPA, has her sights set on Student Athlete of the Year.
With countless hours dedicated both on the court and in the classroom, the two look forward to the moments they get to say, “It’s just another day in paradise.”