Head Coach Tom Morris
April 14, 2014
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina will try to make it six first-round wins in the last seven years when the 2014 Conference USA Women's Tennis Championship Tournament opens Wednesday in Norfolk, Va.
The 10th-seeded Pirates and No. 15 Tulane will square off in opening-round action, marking the first meeting between the two teams since a neutral site regular season matchup on Feb. 4, 2012. However, unlike the Green Wave's 7-0 victory at the UCF Tennis Complex in Orlando, Fla., this meeting will take place at the Folkes-Stevens Tennis Center beginning at 10 a.m. (ET).
Other first-round battles Wednesday include No. 14 Charlotte vs. No. 11 Southern Miss (10 a.m.), No. 16 Florida Atlantic vs. No. 9 Middle Tennessee (2 p.m.) and No. 13 UTEP vs. No. 12 UAB (2 p.m.). No. 5 Louisiana Tech, No. 6 FIU, No. 7 Old Dominion and No. 8 UTSA all earned opening-round byes, while No. 1 Tulsa, No. 2 Rice, No. 3 North Texas and No. 4 Marshall are idle until the quarterfinal round.
Veteran head coach Tom Morris, who is in his 16th season directing the ECU women's team and ranks as the program's all-time winningest coach with 302 victories, has guided the Pirates to a 12-10 regular season record this spring.
Junior Dana Gray, who has played at the No. 6 position in East Carolina's singles lineup for the majority of the season, tops the Pirates with 12 wins in 18 matches. Senior Melis Tanik and freshmen Michelle Castro and Emily Groeneveld follow in the vicotry column with 10 and eight triumphs each, respectively. Tanik and Groeneveld have also played a key role in ECU's doubles efforts, recording a squad-best 8-3 pairs mark.
ECU, which has produced a 12-14 ledger in 12 previous C-USA Tournament appearances, will also try to surpass its top finish of fifth place accomplished in 2003, 2006 and 2008. The Pirates have captured at least one victory in nine of the 12 tourneys, with a program-best three triumphs in 2003.