Women’s Tennis Kicks off Season with Home Match on Sunday
STATESBORO, Ga. --The Georgia Southern Women’s Tennis team has hit their stride early in the fall 2012 season and is not planning on stopping anytime soon. A team full of talented newcomers as well as veteran returners, led by ninth year Head Coach Amy Bonner, is ready to build onto a successful fall semester this Sunday at home against Presbyterian College at 1:00 p.m. After the match the Eagles are available to sign posters for anyone in attendance.
The fall season started off with a tough test at the Auburn tournament. After only a week of practice, the team traveled to Alabama and competed against several strong opponents. The experience paid off and a month later the Eagles won all three doubles’ flights as well as four out of five singles flights at the Kennesaw Tournament, to repeat that feat at their last fall event of the year, the Augusta Challenge.
To continue success in their opening match and the rest of spring, Bonner is looking for everything they have worked on the in the fall to come together, especially in doubles play.
“We’ve really worked a lot on doubles and doubles strategies so I’m looking for the team to excel in doubles,” said Bonner. “From a singles standpoint I would like to see everybody take care of their individual strengths. We have so many different game styles and personalities that I’m just looking forward to them to all come together and having our momentum from the fall carry over.”
Among these different personalities are senior Natalie Maffett (Rome, Ga.) and junior Paola Garrido (Vigo, Spain). Maffett, the lone senior on the squad, has been a force in the lineup all three years at Georgia Southern, having played at the top of the lineup, the bottom, and everything in between and Bonner is expecting her to finish her career out strong.
“With seniors it can go one of two ways: they can fall flat and start thinking about the next thing or they can want to go out and have a great finish to their four years and she’s definitely one who wants to go out with a bang,” said Bonner. “I’m looking to her to motivate the rest of the team so they want to do well for her.”
Garrido, an All-SoCon first team pick last year and an All-Freshman selection in 2011, will look to continue to dominate at the number one spot. The junior led the team with 13-7 singles record, 6-4 in conference, and a 10-6 doubles record, 5-3 in conference in 2012 and represented the Eagles at the ITA Regional Championships this fall.
“She is a leader by example she will hopefully bring with her the experience of playing top people and hopefully will lead the team again in the number one spot, “said Bonner.
Also returning for the Eagles are junior Caitlin Kitchen (Kennesaw, Ga.) as well as sophomore Alexis Prickett (Charleston, S.C.). Bonner expects Kitchen to thrive in her doubles game this year.
“Caitlin has been my doubles specialist. She’s getting more and more confident in her doubles game and in singles she’s been working hard on her consistency so once we get that going she will be a great asset,” she said.
Tempered by injuries her freshman year, Prickett is expected to make an impact this year.
“I’m looking for her to have a healthy season because she is such a strong player for us and if we can get her back to 100% we’re in good shape,” Bonner said.
With a roster of eight players, the Eagles will have to rely heavily on their four newcomers. Sophomore Murray State transfer Jordana Klein (Alpharetta, Ga.) showed that she is up for the task this fall as she won two singles flights as well as a doubles flight.
“Jordana had a really strong fall and I’ve seen some really great things from her and I’ve learned a lot about her completive nature and how versatile her game can be I’m really looking to build of her strong fall,” said Bonner.
Freshman Stephanie Woods also immediately contributed to the team’s success this fall as she became a force in doubles.
“Stephanie has gotten more confident as the fall went on and she finished it on a high note. In doubles she can get to so many balls at the net that she’s really good at intimidating from the beginning because she can cover the net so well,” Bonner said.
The squad was completed this spring with the additions of high school early graduate Mary Phillips Smith (Tallahassee, Fla.) and Denmark native Franscisca Norregaard (Vedbaek, Denmark).
“I couldn’t be more excited about Mary coming to the team this spring because she is not only a great tennis player, but she is also a great person. Once the older ones graduate she will be one of our up and coming leaders,” said Bonner. “Francisca is coming from a strong training background and I am excited to see how I can develop her game and what she’s going to be able to contribute,” she added.
With four new faces, Bonner is excited to see the different personalities mesh, necessary for a successful season.
“One advantage we have always had over other teams is our team chemistry. So I’m hoping we can come together as a close-nit team and want to support each other and not want to come off the courts until we’ve given everything we’ve got and I think this team is capable of that,” Bonner concluded.
The Eagles finished out the 2012 season with a 6-15 record, 2-8 in conference matches, and fell in the quarter finals of the SoCon tournament.
Georgia Southern Athletics provides up-to-date information on all its sports through its official website, GSEagles.com, through social media channels facebook.com/GSAthletics and twitter.com/GSAthletics, and its new “Eagles GATA” mobile app for Android and iOS.
- Category: Women's Tennis
- Published on Saturday, 26 January 2013 13:06