Women's Tennis Begins Spring in Sunshine State
Jan. 16, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Coming off the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament and a win in the first round, the University of Memphis women's team begins their spring schedule Friday in Florida at the Miami Spring Invite.
The three-day event will feature host Miami along with Texas and in-state foe Vanderbilt at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Coral Gables. The tournament will count only towards individual records.
Memphis will begin play at 9 a.m. (ET) with doubles play against Vanderbilt before taking on Texas in singles at 10:30. Saturday's competition will put the Lady Tigers up against Miami in doubles (9 a.m.) and Vanderbilt in singles (10:30 a.m.), while Sunday features doubles play against Texas (8 a.m.) and singles against Miami (9:30 a.m.).
"This weekend will be a great opportunity for us to get some good practice matches and preparation in for our dual matches starting the next weekend," said head coach Lee Taylor Walker. "The whole team is excited to get the spring started and to continue to improve and compete!"
Sophomore Caroline Wegner led the Lady Tigers in the fall with a 10-5 singles record and 11-3 doubles mark. Wegner partnered with junior Alyssa Hibberd to advance to the USTA/ITA Ohio Valley Regional doubles championship. Entering the spring, Wegner is ranked eighth in the region while Hibberd comes in at 17th in singles.
Sophomore Skylar Kuykendall led Memphis in the fall with two wins over nationally-ranked opponents, including a season-opening victory over Ole Miss' No. 39 Caroline Rohde-Moe. Kuykendall added another win over a ranked opponent to her resume in the team's final tournament of the season with a win over Notre Dame's No. 117 Jennifer Kellner at the Dick Vitale Clay Court Classic. Kuykendall is currently ranked 11th in the Ohio Valley Region.
In doubles, Wegner and senior Stefanie Mikesz posted the biggest win of the fall for Memphis with a victory over Ole Miss' No. 24 Rohde-Moe and Mariya Milutinovic at the CCLR Collegiate Invitational in September. Mikesz and Hibberd also recorded double-digit wins during the fall with 10 wins apiece behind Wegner's 11. Wegner and Mikesz enter the spring ranked No. 53 in the country.
Miami, coming off an NCAA quarterfinal appearance in 2013, is led by sophomores Stephanie Wagner and Kelsey Laurente, who are ranked 32nd and 64th, respectively, in the nation. The Hurricanes also have two top-60 doubles teams with Monique Albuquerque and Clementina Riobueno (29) and Brittany Dubins and Wagner (55).
Like Memphis, the Longhorns of Texas also advanced to the NCAA second round a season ago. Texas has two players ranked in the latest ITA poll with Breaunna Addison at No. 22 and Ratnika Batra at No. 77. In doubles, the duo of Addison and Pippa Horn are ranked No. 21 in the nation.
Vanderbilt, a 2013 NCAA second round team, has four athletes in the early season rankings. No. 48 Georgina Sellyn won the Ohio Valley Region tournament last October in Memphis to advance to the National Indoor Championships in New York. Lauren Mira (61), Sydney Campbell (78) and Ashleigh Antal (102) are also ranked in the top-125 singles rankings. The duo of Antal and Campbell are ranked No. 28 in the country while Mira and Courtney Colton come in at No. 36.