BYU Women to Host Aggies in Season Opener

The 2003-04 BYU women's tennis team is itching to get the season underway. Led by Craig Manning, the Cougars have worked hard to prepare for their 2004 campaign. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- For the season opener, the BYU women's tennis team will host in state rival Utah State Friday January 16 in Provo at 5 p.m. in the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts.

BYU last competed in the Central Regional Playoff in November where it defeated teams from the University of Oklahoma and the University of New Mexico to earn their bid to the National Indoor Championship in February.

In their last meeting, the Cougars blanked the Aggies 7-0 in Provo. Individual players also had key wins over Utah State in September during the BYU Invitational. This season, the Cougars and Aggies each have six returning players.

"We had a great preseason and the girls are just itching to play," head coach Craig Manning said. "The girls have worked really hard in the off-season to condition themselves to be ready for the upcoming season."

During the off-season the team met each morning to work with strength and conditioning coaches. The conditioning is part of coach Manning's effort to help the players stay strong throughout the season and avoid injuries.

This season, the Cougars have added depth to their roster with newcomer Barbora Zahnova, a Virginia Commonwealth transfer. Zahnova is currently ranked No. 32 nationally in singles and 21st in doubles with teammate Sofia Holden.

BYU will receive experience and strength from senior Lu Oswald. Oswald underwent shoulder surgery last season to repair a torn rotator cuff. Manning feels confident that Oswald is ready to compete and will have another great year.

Other returning players this season include Rebecca Pike, Nicole Schneider, Olga Boulytcheva, Hadley Macfarlane and Hanni Whittenbecker. Lauren Jones and Sofia Holden are the only freshmen on the squad.

The players are ready to begin the regular season and look forward to facing some tough competition this season.