2007 ECU Women's Tennis Preview
Jan. 12, 2007
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The 2005-06 campaign saw the Lady Pirates secure 19 dual wins, the most in school history. To replicate that success, the East Carolina women's tennis team will have to rely on hard work, chemistry, a little luck and the ability to replace key players.
Head coach Tom Morris is certainly aware of this.
"This year's tennis team will have many challenges as we head into the 2007 season," Morris said. "Our schedule is the most challenging we have ever played, both in terms of number of matches and strength of our opponents. Another obstacle that we will have to deal with is team leadership and chemistry. We lost two very accomplished players off last year's team in Kirstin Buchanan and Gillie Bailey. They were very solid in singles, but more importantly, great in doubles."
Morris's fears are certainly justified as Buchanan and Bailey posted a sparkling 15-4 record in doubles play at the one position to earn the program's first national ranking while booking winning singles records of 11-5 and 14-11, respectively.
"We have a great freshmen class," Morris added. "All three of these girls have fit into our program very well and will help make this another solid year. We are very fortunate to have these players as members of our team."
Despite the Lady Pirates' youth, Morris believes that his team will benefit from having five juniors and two sophomores who have steadily improved over their tennis careers.
"We have five returning juniors - Luiza Borges, Mireia Gol, Zandy Overcash, Hannah Priest and Alex Smith," Morris stated. "All of these players have worked extremely hard on their tennis and have all showed much improvement. Our two sophomores, Anca Dumitru and Presley Thomas, ended their freshmen years very well and we are looking for them to begin this year where they left off last year."
If Gol and Thomas can duplicate their efforts from last season, East Carolina will be well on its way to matching last season's success.
Morris is counting on it.
"Mireia had the best record on the team last year at 18-4 playing number two and three singles," stated Morris. "At the end of the season, Mireia was winning difficult matches with impressive scores. She has all the shots, great quickness and great touch. We expect her to win points every match we play.
"Presley did a great job for us last year in the three doubles and six singles spots," Morris continued. "With a bit more emphasis on consistency, Presley will continue to improve and win matches for our team. She simply knows how to win the key points."
The Lady Pirates will host eight dual matches this spring while a trip to Conference USA rival Houston highlights the road portion of the schedule. East Carolina will look to advance to its third consecutive quarterfinal round showing at the C-USA Championship Tournament which will be hosted by Tulsa in April.
Optimism is plentiful at the East Carolina Tennis Complex and for good reason. Morris feels that this season could be just as successful as the last.
"We had the best fall I have ever experienced in terms of hard work and improvement," Morris concluded. "I am extremely happy with the dedication and discipline we have shown so far this year. The entire team has worked very hard, and individually, our players played the best tennis I have seen them play this fall and this will be important in terms of our performance in 2007."