GW Women's Tennis Opens 2014 Season at Maryland on Saturday
Colonials Look to Make Mark in A-10 With Mix of Veterans, Newcomers
Jan. 24, 2014
WASHINGTON – The George Washington women’s tennis team opens its 2014 campaign on Saturday with an 11 a.m. match at nearby Maryland.
Under the direction of first-year Head Coach Greg Munoz, the Colonials look to veteran leadership and highly touted newcomers as they embark on a competitive spring slate. Despite losing two players to graduation, the Buff and Blue return A-10 All-Conference selections senior Leah Pascarella and sophomore Lana Robins, in addition to senior Isabella Escobar and sophomores Christina Carpenter, Egle Jakuciunaite and Stephanie Wei.
“This is a great group of student-athletes that is coming off of a successful fall season,” said Coach Munoz. “I push them hard at practice and they respond well. We are excited to go to work and see what we can do this season.”
GW wrapped 2013 with an overall record of 11-8 and a 4-1 mark in conference play. The Colonials were selected to finish fourth in the 2014 Atlantic 10 Preseason Coaches’ Poll after reaching its second consecutive quarterfinal match last season. With nine players ready to suit up this spring, Coach Munoz believes the squad’s depth will prove be a valuable tool when transitioning from indoor to outdoor competition.
“We have a great coaching staff that is able to work closely with the players and that has been a nice advantage,” Coach Munoz said. “All of our players have an opportunity to compete in the top-six as we have some players who perform better indoors while others are better outdoors. Our first few months will give everyone an opportunity to prove themselves.”
Pascarella, the Colonials’ top singles player last season, picked up her third straight postseason honor as she was named to the 2013 A-10 All-Conference First Team after earning an overall singles record of 15-14. She went 6-5 throughout four tournaments this fall, which was highlighted by her second consecutive Georgetown Classic singles title.
Robins – who was named to the A-10 All-Conference Second Team as a rookie – enters the season as the No. 17 singles player in the ITA Atlantic Region. In a breakout freshman season at the No. 2 position in 2013, Robins had an overall singles record of 15-11 while posting an 11-6 dual-match record. She went 9-4 throughout fall competition and led the way for the Colonials at the 2013 USTA/ITA Atlantic Regional Championships where she went 2-1 in singles and knocked off No. 121 Racluca Mita of Virginia in a three-set thriller for her first career upset over a nationally ranked player.
“Leah is always in great shape and she is very mentally tough. Lana gives 100% every day and is a really great competitor,” said Coach Munoz. “We’ll look to alternate the two of them at No. 1 and 2 because they both deserve it and that gives us the luxury of mixing it up depending on our competition.”
Escobar returns for GW for her final season, while Carpenter, who posted a notable record of 12-6 as a rookie, went 3-2 during fall competition. Jakuciunaite returns after earning a 4-3 fall mark, and Wei - who competed primarily at the No. 3 spot last season - produced a dual-match record of 12-7 this fall.
“Isabella, Christina, Egle and Stephanie all have different qualities ranging from power to speed that allow us to move them around in terms of positions,” Coach Munoz said. “They are solid players which will make for a competitive lineup.”
Newcomers Grace Egger, Allison Hansen and Taylor Nederlander got a taste of collegiate competition with fall tournaments and Coach Munoz will look to the trio to provide depth in both singles and doubles play. Nederlander produced a team-best singles record of 9-3 this fall while Egger went 5-3 and Hansen went 3-2.
“No match will be easy this spring but we are a competitive program and we have high expectations for what we can achieve,” said Coach Munoz. “We are excited to get into conference play and our goal is to reach the A-10 title match.”
Following a two-year stint at the indoor Boars Head Sports Club in Charlottesville, Va., the Colonials will compete in the 2014 Atlantic 10 Championship in Mason, Ohio at the Lindner Family Tennis Center from Wednesday, April 23 – Sunday, April 27.
GW’s season-opener on Saturday at Maryland is indoors at the Tennis Center at College Park. GW opens its outdoor home slate at the newly renovated GW Tennis Center on Monday, March 10 at 1 p.m. against A-10 foe Saint Louis. For a full breakdown of the team’s 2014 schedule, click here.
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