Oberlin, Ohio –
Under the direction of seventh-year Head Coach Constantine Ananiadis
, the Oberlin College women's tennis team is poised to make headway on the national scene and in the region.
The Yeowomen enter the spring ranked ninth in the ITA Central Region Preseason Poll and ended the 2012-13 season No. 32 in the nation.
"Our goal has always been to win the conference championship and we came really close to that two years ago," Ananiadis said. "Last season we had our fair share of misfortune towards the end of the year, but now we are back and ready to push for that again. We have been really committed to the process and have already made great strides since the fall."
Headlining the roster in senior Brenna Sheldon
. Ranked fourth in the region, Sheldon is coming off a strong fall season in which she advanced all the way to the semifinals of the ITA Central Region Championships after being seeded 10th in the 128-player field.
Despite fighting through injury a season ago, Sheldon still finished with a record of 13-9 in singles and was 17-6 in doubles play. She earned All-NCAC second-team honors in singles. In addition to being named an ITA Scholar-Athlete, Sheldon and Porter were also All-NCAC second-team selections in doubles. The duo enters the spring as the 17th best pairing in the region.
Porter was a force between No. 2-4 singles last season, finishing with a mark of 19-10. An elite doubles player, Porter was a part of 18 wins a season ago. She and Farah Leclercq
were named alternates for the 2013 NCAA Championship Tournament as the duo concluded 2013 season ranked 25th in the nation.
Sophomores Erin Johnson
and Ariana Abayomi
are going to be heavily relied upon in the middle part of the Yeowomen lineup. Johnson turned in an impressive rookie campaign in which she finished 15-9 in singles play and was a part of the 13 doubles wins. Abayomi went 11-12 in singles, which included a 4-0 mark at the No. 4 position. She and Johnson combined to win 10 doubles matches.
"Erin has completely reinvented herself over the last eight months," Ananiadis noted. "She's in the best shape of her life, hitting the ball as well as ever, and has been much smarter with her decisions on the court. As a result she is playing with a lot of confidence. Erin has great potential and I really look forward to watching her play this year to see what she can do."
The first-year trio of Emma Brezel
, Oliva Hay and Anna Tredler are likely to see plenty of action from the onset. Brezel a native of Port Washington, New York, won two singles matches in the spring, as did Tredler. Brezel was a former team captain at Paul D. Schreiber High School and was a two-time all-county selection and two-time state qualifier in doubles. Hay came to Oberlin from Portland, Oregon, where she was a four-year varsity player at the International School of Beaverton and a 2012 state quarterfinalist in doubles.
Junior Emily Fuller
and sophomore Alex Kahn
saw limited action last season, but have steadily improved over the years and are ready to step in the singles or doubles line-ups as needed.
Oberlin opens the season with six straight home matches starting with Baldwin Wallace on Saturday, February 8. The next day, No. 25 Case Western Reserve comes to town. In addition to the Spartans, the Yeowomen have five other nationally ranked opponents on the schedule for the spring. Over spring break they will play No. 29 Carleton, No. 27 UW-Whitewater, No. 7 Johns Hopkins, No. 21 Mary Washington and No. 20 Skidmore. Additionally, the Yeowomen will host NCAA Division II Ashland (2/26) and Tiffin (4/12).
"We always play a tough schedule as it is my philosophy that a team can't improve without it." Ananiadis said. "We use these tougher matches as a measuring stick and to prepare us for the conference tournament. I also strongly believe we need to play these types of teams if we want to be ranked in the top-10 nationally, something that is very much within this program's reach."