Women's Tennis Receives National Rankings to Begin 2013
Jan. 3, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis women's tennis team was recognized in Campbell's Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) team and doubles rankings that were released Thursday afternoon.
The Lady Tigers ranked No. 58 in the nation after finishing the 2012 season No. 60. Tulsa (25), Rice (T-29) and Tulane (55) were other Conference USA teams that appeared in the first season rankings.
"January and February team rankings are all coaches' votes," said head coach Lee Taylor Walker. "Most coaches just look at where a team ended the previous season and start them in the similar area. It's unfortunate temporarily, but overall just insignificant. The rankings that matter will be the computer rankings that are released in March. This is when this year's results actually get calculated. The positive side of this ranking is that we can play the underdog card."
Coming in at No. 18 in the doubles rankings were seniors Courtney Collins and Kelly Gray, who played together at the Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic after Collins made her return after nursing a shoulder injury. The duo won four-straight matches to take the title, defeating the No. 20 team of Brittany Sanders and Julie Sabacinski of Notre Dame while also taking down Oklahoma's State No. 39 C.C. Sardinha and Meghan Blevins and Florida's No. 47 Olivia Janowicz and Caroline Hitimana. In the finals, the two defeated Florida's Alexandra Cercone and Brianna Morgan. The No. 18 ranking is the highest in singles or doubles for the program.
"Courtney and Kelly played better than expected coming back for the first time in November since April," Walker said. "Wining the Dick Vitale earned them this ranking and proved they can beat anyone. It's nice to see how far they have come as a pair in four years. They have hung in there through the ups and downs and I am determined for them to make the NCAA's as a pair this year. This is a great starting point and encouragement."
Also appearing in the doubles rankings were junior Stefanie Mikesz and freshman Caroline Wegner, who came in at No. 35. The team went 4-1 during the fall, defeating opponents from Oklahoma, Purdue, Tulsa and Vanderbilt at the Memphis Invitational in October.
"Stefanie and Caroline were an exciting pair to watch from the start," Walker said. "They complement each other well on court and Caroline adjusted very quickly to our doubles system. This pair will only get stronger and stronger as the season goes along. They also have the capabilities of qualifying for NCAA's this year with their solid fall results."
Memphis will begin its spring season Wednesday, Jan. 16 with matches against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and UT Martin. From Jan. 18-20, Memphis will travel to Athens, Ga., for the Georgia Invitational. Joining Memphis and No. 6 Georgia at the tournament will be No. 67 Kansas State and Troy. The following week, Memphis will participate in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend where the Lady Tigers will face No. 10 Alabama in Tuscaloosa before taking on either No. 22 Clemson or No. 25 Tulsa.
"Our players know we are a Sweet 16 team this year," Walker said. "It's just a matter of handling each opponent the appropriate way emotionally and being able to execute. We are ready."