The Valparaiso University women’s tennis program has announced the addition of Mia Bertino (Lockport, Ill. / Joliet Catholic), who will join head coach Bob Modesto’s team for the 2020-2021 academic and athletic year.
“In tennis, there are players who are bangers and players who volley, then there are players like Mia who are going to stay out there forever and make you stay out there forever because she doesn’t miss,” Modesto said. “I just love that type of player because they’re grinders and workers. When I saw those traits in Mia, I knew she would be a great complement to the other players we have on our team.”
Bertino played varsity No. 1 singles for all four years at Joliet Catholic Academy, including a 2019 campaign that featured a flawless 28-0 regular season record. She was a varsity tennis captain as a junior and senior and was selected as the East Suburban Catholic Conference Player of the Year in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“I really admire the close connection that the members of the team seem to have,” Bertino said. “That was something I wanted to be a part of. It’s important to have chemistry with your teammates, and I saw that in this team. Coach Modesto was extremely welcoming when I visited, as were the players who gave me a tour. I also really admire the Christian community and the religious life on campus that Valpo has to offer.”
A three-time IHSA sectional champion, Bertino earned a fifth-place medal at the 2019 IHSA State Tennis Tournament. She led the team to a second-place finish at state as a freshman in 2016 and was a member of the all-state Class A tennis team all four years.
“In Illinois, the state tournament is a lot tougher than it is in other states,” Modesto said. “A fifth-place finish in Illinois could be a state championship in other states. Her personality is terrific. In the recruiting process, we want to recruit players who are going to connect with the team. I think the chemistry of the team right now is phenomenal, and I want to make sure we don’t do anything to disrupt that. Mia will be a great fit. She has a tennis court in her backyard, so it’s clear that she comes from a family that loves tennis.”
The three-star tennis recruit is also a high achiever in the classroom, where she plans to major in education at Valpo. In high school, she has been a member of high honor roll, National Honor Society, National English Society, National Spanish Society and was nominated for National Leadership Conference while compiling a 3.95 grade point average.
Bertino played varsity basketball for all four years of high school, averaging 12.6 points per game in 2018. The multi-faceted student-athlete is a certified lifeguard at Lifetime Fitness, sings in groups and performs solos at Church Cantor and was casted for the lead role in the upcoming spring musical at Joliet Catholic Academy.
“Playing at the Division-I level has always been a goal of mine, so I’m thrilled with this opportunity,” Bertino said. “I’d like to thank my parents, siblings and coaches who have helped me get here. I’m looking so forward to starting my collegiate career at Valpo in the fall.”