The 2008-09 Women's Tennis Team (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
After facing early elimination from the 2008 Mountain West Conference Tournament, the BYU women’s tennis team looks to bounce back this season and earn its fourth MWC title in six years. The Cougars are returning five players from last season and adding three talented freshmen to the squad.
“We have a lot of talent, a lot of focus and a lot of commitment,” head coach Craig Manning said. “It looks like we can be really good this year. It should be fun.”
The team finished the 2007-08 season ranked No. 49 in the nation with a 13-12 overall record. The Cougars also lost three seniors, including Anastasia Surkova who finished her last season ranked No. 64 nationally while playing in the No. 1 singles spot throughout the year.
“Replacing Anastasia and what she brought to the team both on and off the court is going to be difficult,” Manning said. “She led by example and had great intensity.”
The young BYU team, which has no returning seniors, has already shown its potential in the fall tournament season. Junior Kristina Doerr had a straight-set win over the nation’s No. 22-ranked player, Cal’s Claire Ilcinkas, at the Cal Nike Invitational.
Freshman standout McCall Jones also started the season with some big wins and great performances. Jones captured the singles title at the BYU Invitational, the first collegiate tournament of her career.
Junior Jocelyn Jensen and freshman Kourtney Young will be available to help the Cougars in the spring after battling through injuries during the fall season.
The Cougars will need their full lineup as they compete against top-ranked programs, including No. 14 Arkansas and No. 20 Notre Dame. BYU will also face five other teams currently ranked in the top 50.
Manning is looking forward to getting the season underway so the team can get to work and start accomplishing the three-fold goal of the season.
“We want to win the MWC, make a run at being ranked in the top 10 if we can and go deep in the NCAA tournament,” Manning said. “I hope that we can stay healthy and keep progressing the way we are.”
The women’s tennis team will start the season hosting Washington State on Jan. 23. Cougar tennis fans can support the team at home throughout season while it looks to continue a tradition of strong conference play and capture another Mountain West title.
“We have good chemistry, everybody’s talented, everybody’s working hard and that should equal some good results,” Manning said.