2007-08 Lady Tiger Tennis Preview
Jan. 25, 2008
The 2007-08 season marks the beginning of a new era in the University of Memphis women's tennis program. After long-time Head Coach Charlotte Peterson retired from coaching last spring, Memphis tapped one of its most successful men's players, Lee Taylor Walker, to take over the coaching duties for the women's team for the 2007-08 season.
Walker's changes were immediately evident in the fall, when the Lady Tigers played in five different tournaments (Ole Miss, UTEP, Air Force, ITA Regionals, Lady Tiger Classic) after playing in just three fall tournaments in 2006 and four in 2005. The Lady Tigers also made their first appearance at the ITA Southeast Regionals since the 2002-03 season in the fall of 2007, giving the student-athletes a chance to step on the court against some of the top talent in the Southeast during their fall workouts.
Memphis returns without a senior on the roster and with just two juniors to help Walker build his program. Ekin Zafir is the returning player with the most experience in a Memphis uniform, having played in 55 career singles matches heading in to the 2007-08 season. Zafir played at the No. 2 and 3 slots in the line-up early in the season, but had moved up to the No. 1 spot, where she played well, but could not break through for a win with an 0-5 mark. Zafir went 6-5 during the fall, finding wins on both the singles and doubles line-up to build momentum for the spring.
Helping Zafir out with the junior class responsibilities will be Cleveland State transfer Kristin Chamberlain. Chamberlain went 3-7 in the fall semester with the Lady Tigers, and will make up a talented trio of players who played their prep tennis in Memphis on the 2007-08 Lady Tiger roster.
Memphis will also have some experience returning in a three-player sophomore class. Amanda Brown, Marjorie Ondeck and Dara Toulch all return after getting a lot of playing time in their respective freshman campaigns.
Brown and Ondeck tied for the team lead with seven wins apiece during the year, with Brown's three dual season singles wins tying with now-graduated Christina Wieser for the team lead. Ondeck had a solid 6-5 fall season as a freshman, but was only able to play in 12 dual season matches before missing the remainder of the spring due to injury. Toulch completed more dual season matches than anyone as a freshman, going 2-14 while playing high at the No. 2 singles spot in the line-up. All three are much-improved after the fall of 2007. Brown was 7-7 during the fall and combined with Zafir to give the Lady Tigers their first championship title since 2003 by winning the A2 doubles title at the fall-ending Lady Tiger Classic.
A new addition to the sophomore class will be LSU transfer Ashley Murdock. Murdock, who was 3-3 with LSU this fall, was 9-7 as a freshman last year, including a 2-1 mark at No. 6 singes and a 2-0 mark at No. 4 singles. She was 4-2 in dual season play, and was 6-4 in her final 10 matches as a freshman. Murdock also played doubles, going 7-9 for the season and 4-1 during the spring. She was 1-0 at No. 1 and 3-1 at No. 3 doubles. A graduate of St. Agnes Academy in Memphis, she is one of three Lady Tigers with prep roots in the Memphis area.
Another Memphis native on the roster is freshman Lindsey Wiseman. Wiseman was 4-7 in her first collegiate semester, bouncing back from a two-match losing streak to start her career to win three of her next four matches. She also teamed with Marjorie Ondeck to post a solid 5-5 mark in doubles during the fall, and posted a 1-1 mark in doubles when teamed with Kristin Chamberlain.
The 2007-08 spring schedule features mostly traditional Memphis rivals for the newly-revamped Lady Tiger team. Walker kept traditional contests with regional foes like UT Martin, UALR, Southern Illinois, Murray State, Tennessee Tech, Austin Peay and Arkansas State on the roster, and sprinkled in some foes like South Alabama and NCAA Division II powerhouse West Florida. Where the team has had a break over the spring in the past, Walker opted to continue to play 2-3 matches a week throughout the spring, pointing toward the April 17-20th C-USA tournament to peak his student-athletes.
On the sidelines, Walker is getting help from former Tiger men's player Alex Jago and volunteer assistant coach Phil Chamberlain. Chamberlain was Walker's coach at Memphis when Walker transferred to Memphis from Clemson and is currently the director of both the men's and women's professional tennis tournament tour stops held in Memphis each February. Chamberlain and Ondeck crossed paths at the women's tour stop last season, as Ondeck received an at-large entry to the WTA Qualifying draw of the WTA Cellular South Cup last season, gaining some experience against the next level of competition before spending the spring season playing No. 1 singles for the Lady Tigers.