Women's Tennis Returns Five Netters for 2012-13 Season
Sept. 18, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After coming off a 16-5 season that included many firsts for the Memphis women's tennis program, the Lady Tigers are hungry for more success with five of their top-six players returning from last year's squad.
Last season, the Lady Tigers finished the year with three wins over ranked opponents (No. 49 Princeton, No. 65 Columbia and No. 67 Kansas State), while all five losses came at the hands of opponents ranked No. 26 or higher. Memphis' .762 winning percentage in 2012 was the best mark in school history, bettering the 2003 team that went 17-7 for a .708 winning percentage.
Rising to the Top
After appearing in the ITA rankings for all but one weekly poll last season, the Lady Tigers reached a program-high ranking of No. 51 in March after three wins that week, including a 7-0 victory over then-No. 67 Kansas State. Courtney Collins ended her junior campaign by becoming the first Lady Tiger in program history to advance to the NCAA Championships. Collins fell in the first round of the NCAA's, but totaled 27 singles wins and ended the season ranked No. 34 in the country. Collins enters the fall season ranked No. 21, the second-highest ranked player from Conference USA.
Through three seasons at the U of M, Collins has tallied 79 singles wins to be on pace to break the school record of 97, set by Stacy Seamans back in 1983.
Returning Lady Tigers
Also returning from last year's squad are seniors Tiffany Welcher and Kelly Gray, junior Stefanie Mikesz and sophomore Alyssa Hibberd. Welcher was granted another year of eligibility from the NCAA after being injured for a season while at the University of Alabama. Entering her second season at Memphis, Welcher was the lone Lady Tiger to be ranked in both singles and doubles in the 2012 ITA preseason rankings as she came in at No. 115 in singles and No. 31 in doubles with Hibberd. In her first season at the U of M, Welcher recorded a 21-11 singles record and 25-8 mark in doubles.
Last season, Gray collected 19 singles wins, 13 of those which came in the spring season. Gray's 26 doubles wins tied for the most on the team along with Hibberd. In her sophomore season, Mikesz finished 29-6 in singles play, including an 18-3 record in the spring, to tie for the most wins on the team along with former Lady Tiger Mariya Slupska. Mikesz teamed with Slupska in doubles for all but one of her 25 wins last season. In her first season at Memphis, Hibberd had a strong freshman season with 26 singles and doubles victories. The duo of Hibberd and Welcher finished the year ranked No. 67 in the nation following a 20-8 season.
The Lady Tigers also welcome three new players for the 2012-13 season with Skylar Kuykendall, Liza Tymchenko and Caroline Wegner. The Lady Tigers will be adding more international flair to the roster this season as Tymchenko hails from Kharkov, Ukraine, and Wegner comes from Hagen, Germany. Kuykendall is a native of Jasper, Ala., but played for Potter's Wheel Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Memphis will begin the season this Sunday at the USTA 10k in Amelia Island, Fla. The following week, four Lady Tigers will compete in the All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Calif., Sept. 29-Oct. 7. Before heading to the ITA Ohio Valley Regionals in West Lafayette, Ind., the Lady Tigers will host the Memphis Invitational, which will include Drake, Loyola Marymount and UT Martin. From Nov. 2-4, the Lady Tigers will host Tulsa, Oklahoma, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss for the Memphis Invitational. The team will close out the fall season with the National Indoors and the Dick Vitale Invitational during the second week of November.