|Racquets back in swing for 49ers women’s tennis|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte 49ers women's tennis team returns to the courts and opens the 2013 schedule with a pair of matches this weekend. The Niners start the slate at 5 p.m. Friday in Davidson, N.C., facing Radford in a neutral-site contest before playing host to North Carolina Central at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex in the home opener.
Charlotte already has a 2-0 dual match record thanks to a pair of wins during the fall. The 49ers earned a pair of 7-0 triumphs over Belmont Abbey and Johnson C. Smith on the same day, Sept. 28, which was sandwiched between their usual fall tournament calendar.
The squad competed in four fall events, picking up a combined 22 singles victories and 14 doubles wins. Seniors Anna Ekelund and Iveta Guneva, along with freshman Jessica Pérez, posted a team-leading four singles triumphs.
Ekelund picked up a third-place result in her bracket at the season-opening College of Charleston Invitational Sept. 14-16. She played only one match to the max three sets during the fall and garnered four overall set shutouts, the last coming at the Charlotte 49er Invitational Oct. 12-13.
Guneva tallied a pair of victories at the Wake Forest Invitational Oct. 5-7, rebounding from an opening-round setback. She was forced to play three sets two times during the fall, recording a victory at the home tournament.
Pérez's inaugural collegiate competition saw her win five-straight matches overall, including the two dual match triumphs. She placed fifth in her flight at the College of Charleston Invitational and had split decisions among her four three-set battles.
In doubles action, Ekelund and sophomore Lisa Grosselius combined for a team-best five victories. The duo won three of its last four matches to conclude the fall, including a contest at the season-ending ITA Carolina Regional in Winston-Salem, N.C., Oct. 18-19.
Sophomore Natsuko Takayanagi and senior Alexandra Zinn collected four doubles triumphs, including wins in each of their first three matches at the Wake Forest Invitational to finish as their flight runner-up.
Charlotte posted a 16-6 ledger a year ago, tying the 49ers for the most wins under head coach Michaela Gorman. Despite winning the doubles point, the Niners fell in the Atlantic 10 semifinals in their final match of the campaign.
In addition to Ekelund, Guneva and Zinn, Emmanuelle Briant and Ginny Johnson will be competing in their final seasons for Charlotte. Briant, who will graduate in three years, was a perfect 4-0 in doubles action during the fall and also picked up a trio of singles victories. Johnson registered three singles and three doubles triumphs during the fall.
Radford was picked to finish sixth in the preseason Big South poll. The Highlanders, coached by Bruce Harrison, were 17-7 overall and 5-4 in their conference a year ago and have yet to play a dual match this season but competed at the Wake Forest Winter Classic last weekend as a warm-up.
North Carolina Central was selected to place third in the Mid-Eastern Athletic's South Division. The Eagles posted an 8-9 overall and 5-2 league mark last spring under the watch of coach David Nass.