CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte women’s tennis spring dual match campaign will begin this weekend with a pair of matches, as the 49ers return to the courts under the direction of 11th-year head coach Michaela Gorman. Charlotte will open the season at 5 p.m. Friday in a neutral-site match versus Radford in Davidson, N.C., before traveling to Winston-Salem, N.C., for a 4 p.m. Saturday contest against Wake Forest.
The 2014 edition of the program returns five players and welcomes three newcomers to the courts, a year after the Niners posted an 11-7 dual match record in their final season as a member of the Atlantic 10. Charlotte reached the conference tournament quarterfinals last April but graduated five players off the squad.
This year’s group features the return just one senior (Dominica Nemec), two juniors (Lisa Grosselius and Natsuko Takayanagi) and two sophomores (Tyler Baker and Jessica Pérez). Newcomers include Briana Bodner and Macy Vonderschmidt, both of whom competed during the fall tournament campaign, and Victoria Pahlett, who joined the 49ers program in time for the spring semester.
Charlotte owns a 12-1 all-time record against Radford, having won the last 10 meetings between the two schools. The 49ers picked up a 6-1 triumph Jan. 28, 2011, in the only meeting during Gorman’s tenure. The Highlanders finished 2013 with a 7-16 overall record, including a 3-7 mark in the Big South, and were picked to place seventh in the league race this spring.
The match will feature an experimental scoring format the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) has proposed this year and approved by the NCAA Tennis Committee. The changes include doubles being played with regular scoring and a tiebreaker at six-all. Once a team has won two doubles matches to pick up the point, the remaining doubles match will not be completed.
In singles play, if a match reaches the third set, it will be played as a tiebreaker instead of a full third set. These rule changes are effective for only January and February matches in non-conference contests with a goal of making them shorter on time and more exciting.
The Demon Deacons lead the Niners 6-1 in the all-time series, with Charlotte’s lone victory coming Oct. 16, 1990. The 49ers are 0-4 against Wake Forest under Gorman.
Wake Forest is 2-0 on the season after opening with back-to-back wins over UNC Greensboro and College of Charleston earlier in the week.
Saturday’s contest will not feature the new experimental rules, as both coaches must agree to adopt the changes prior to the match starting.