The women’s tennis team, restocked with fresh talent and armed with nationally-ranked veterans, will start its fall season with tournaments spread across the country, beginning with the Bulldog Invitational in Athens, Ga. starting Friday
Head coach Jefferson Hammond said the fall tournaments are a great chance for the players on the team to improve their rankings in preparation for the spring season.
“It’s a great opportunity for a number of players,” Hammond said. “They’re going to get a lot of tennis in.”
Anna Sydorska and Macall Harkins, both senior players, will provide veteran leadership on the team this season.
In addition to being the squad’s leaders, the two seniors were recently ranked as the No. 9 doubles team in the ITA collegiate college rankings. The duo earned a bid to the 2008 NCAA Doubles Championship last season.
“Their expectations this year are very high,” Hammond said.
Sydorska has also been ranked No. 95 in singles play after earning All-Mountain West Conference singles and doubles honors for the third year in a row last season.
Junior teammate Nina Munch-Soegaard will begin the season ranked No. 47 in singles play after an impressive season last year in which she earned All-Mountain West Conference Singles Team honors and was also named Texas Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame Tennis Player of the Year.
This year’s squad includes two freshmen players, Kayla Duncan and Gaby Mastromarino. The newcomers have already impressed their coach and teammates.
“We’re very excited about the two of them because they both have excellent resumes, and they were highly sought after by other schools,” Hammond said. “They’ve got great games and are very talented and we’re looking forward to them being a nice addition to the team.”
Sophomore Katariina Tuohimaa has also seen good things from her young teammates.
“They have excellent attitudes. Kayla’s my roomate and Gaby’s my suitemate, so it’s been nice because they’re always ready to go practice or go workout,” Tuohimma said.
The team made another change with the addition of volunteer assistant coach Anna Lubinsky at the end of August. Lubinsky, a current professional and a former standout at Texas A&M, brings a great deal of experience to the TCU team.
“She’s a great complement to the squad,” Hammond said. “She’s very professional. She won the Aggie Heart Award twice at A&M and brings quite a bit of tennis knowledge. She enjoys working with the team and she’s just a real positive for us.”
After their tournament in Georgia, the team will head to Pacific Palisades, Calif., for the ITA All-American Tournament beginning Sept. 27. Their tournament in the Golden State will be followed by a trip to Honolulu for the Rainbow Wahine Invitational Oct. 9 to 11.
The team will first play at home when they host the ITA Southwest Regional at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center Oct. 23 to 27.