BYU women's tennis 2012 preview
PROVO, Utah – Entering its inaugural season as a member of the West Coast Conference, the BYU women’s tennis team looks to build on solid returners and new talent to position itself as a strong contender in the WCC.
Lone senior Megan Price will lead a team with four returners and three new freshmen. Off the court, coach Lauren Jones Spencer will be at the helm for the Cougars after being named the permanent head coach in the fall. Spencer was the interim head coach for the Cougars during the 2010-11 season, and was an assistant coach for two seasons from 2008-10.
In its first year in the WCC, BYU was selected to finish fourth in WCC preseason polls, as voted on by the conference coaches.
“I’m excited to be in the West Coast Conference,” Jones-Spencer said. “I was happy to see us voted to finish fourth in the preseason polls. I’m excited to step up and play to have our results match that.”
Three freshmen join the BYU roster this season – Morgan Anderson, Meghan Sheehan-Dizon and Lisa Waldron. The three freshmen combined for a 17-19 record during fall play with Sheehan-Dizon leading the way at 8-5.
“I’m excited to see our freshmen compete,” Jones-Spencer said. “They’re a little nervous and don’t know what to expect, but I think they’ll do really well.”
The Cougars started the fall season with a strong performance at the BYU Invitational. Senior Megan Price and Anderson competed for the title in the all-BYU singles final. Price’s experience shined through as she battled her way to a third set victory in the veteran-rookie showdown. Junior Aubrey Paul dropped only four games in her two sets against Utah State’s Monica Abella to earn the Bracket B singles title. Paul and sophomore Desiree Tran claimed the Bracket A doubles title.
Paul continued to make waves in the fall when she reached the singles final of the Cal Nike Invitational and grabbed the White Doubles Round Robin title alongside Waldron. The pair was undefeated in fall play with a 3-0 record. Paul did not compete in the singles final on Sunday due to BYU’s policy of not playing on Sunday.
The Cougars recorded five doubles wins and five singles wins in the main draws of the ITA Mountain Region Championships. Price and Sheehan-Dion were the last to fall for the Cougars in the tournament. The pair faced a tough quarterfinal match against No. 3 seed Veronica Popovici and Simona Synkova of Wyoming and eventually fell, 8-1.
To wrap up the fall season, BYU competed in the Utah Invitational. Paul advanced to the singles draw-B finals where she challenged Sammi Watson of Utah. Paul pushed Watson to a tough three-set match with two tiebreakers, but was edged out, 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-6(5). The semifinals of the singles draw-B featured three Cougars. Paul, who led the Cougars in singles during fall play with a 12-5 record, reached the finals after topping Sheehan-Dizon. Tran faced Watson in the other semifinal.
Despite good showings during the fall, the women’s team will need to compete even more fiercely in the regular season as it takes on top national programs and contends with ranked conference opponents. BYU will face nine teams that are currently ranked in the top 75, including defending WCC champion No. 26 Pepperdine.
The Cougars kick off their season Feb. 3 against UC Irvine with conference play starting March 24 when BYU hosts University of San Francisco.