Head coach Tom Morris
April 15, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina will try to make it six first-round wins in a row when the 2013 Conference USA Women's Tennis Championship Tournament opens Thursday in Houston, Texas.
The 11th-seeded Pirates and No. 6 UCF will square off in opening-round action, marking the second meeting of the season between the two programs. However, unlike the Knights' 6-1 victory at the ECU Tennis Complex back on March 29, this matchup will take place at the John. E. Hoff Tennis Courts on the UH campus beginning at 5 p.m. (ET).
Other first-round battles Thursday include No. 4 Tulane vs. No. 13 Southern Miss (9 a.m.), No. 5 SMU vs. No. 12 UTEP (9 a.m.), No. 8 UAB vs. No. 9 Old Dominion (1 p.m.) and No. 7 Marshall vs. No. 10 Houston (1 p.m.). No. 1 Rice, No. 2 Tulsa and No. 3 Memphis all earned opening-round byes.
Veteran head coach Tom Morris, who is in his 15th season heading the ECU women's team and ranks as the program's all-time winningest coach, has guided the Pirates to a 12-11 regular season record this spring. He has recently directed the Pirates to the top six single-season victory totals in school history over the last nine campaigns.
Junior Melis Tanik, who has played at the No. 2 position in East Carolina's singles lineup for the majority of the season, tops the Pirates with 16 victories in 22 matches. Senior Yilian Zhang and junior Neena Wanko follow in the win column with 13 and 11 triumphs, respectively. Tanik and Zhang have also played a key role in ECU's doubles efforts, recording a squad-best 9-8 pairs mark.
ECU, which has produced an 12-13 ledger in 11 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 11 tourneys, with a program-best three triumphs in 2003.