Cougars Open Season Against Aggies

Senior Olga Boulytcheva looks to help BYU start off strong. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The defending Mountain West Conference Champion BYU women's tennis team will open the 2006 regular season against Utah State University Jan. 13 at 4 p.m. at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts.

BYU comes into the match having had a successful preseason, highlighted by the team qualifying for the ITA National Indoor Tournament. Even so, coach Craig Manning said the team continues trying to perfect the things it must do to win.

"Right now we're just trying to get going," Manning said. "We need to see where we're at and focus on what we need to do to improve."

Manning said the opening matches are key to the team improving, and important because of the tough schedule the Cougars have in front of them. The team needs to do well early in the season in order to peak at the end of the season during conference play.

Led by lone senior Olga Boulytcheva, who advanced to the final of the Regional Championships and to the quarterfinal round of the National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships during the fall, the Cougars look to get off on the right foot before heading on a four-match road trip that lasts until the end of January.

Rounding out the rest of the Cougar roster are juniors Lauren Jones, who played her way into the main draw of the All-American Championships, Sophia Holden and Hanni Wittenbecher-Deters. Four sophomores will contribute greatly to the team's success this year, including Anastasia Sourkova and Jennifer Miccoli, who finished last season ranked No. 15 in doubles, Dolly Chang, Breanna Williamson and freshman Rana El Derwy.