Women's Tennis Season Preview
The Behrend women’s tennis team has accomplished a feat no other Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) opponent has done and won five straight conference championships. With four starters returning, including the top three players from last year, the Lions are hoping to make it six in a row to earn the AMCC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in the spring. With the addition of four new teams to the conference, Behrend will now have a chance on advancing to postseason for the first time in program history.
Head coach Jeff Barger, entering his 13th season at Behrend, is confident the dominance will continue, especially with conference rival Frostburg State exiting the AMCC.
“We are coming off a great season and return a lot of experienced players,” said Barger. “We have our sights set on the sixth conference championship and making postseason.”
The top three singles players are back after winning the championship in their respective flight. Arica Christman will hold down the No. 1 singles and doubles spot again in 2010. The junior, a two-time AMCC Player of the Year, could make it three in a row for this honor with a repeat performance of her first two years. Last season, she was also named the team MVP and posted a 15-5 singles record. Christman paired up with No. 2 singles player Stephanie Cattron, an All-AMCC selection for taking home the crown in the singles competition at the conference championships. She tied for first on the squad with 16 wins and went 7-6 in doubles. Junior Leslie Durante will fit into the starting six again this year. She was an All-AMCC first team choice in both singles and doubles. Durante ranked fourth on the team in singles wins (14) and was the No. 5 singles champion at the conference championships.
Senior co-captain Hillary Lasher played at third singles and No. 2 doubles last season. Her 11-4 singles record was impressive but more so was her team-leading 13-3 doubles mark with Durante as her partner . Elissa Swartz will join Lasher in the leadership role as captain. She has been a steady player for Behrend and her experience will be instrumental for the newcomers. The two remaining seniors, Megan Flinchbaugh and Jenna Sellitto, have three solid years of competition under their belts heading into this season.
“Our newcomers will add depth to our roster,” said Barger. “With the loss of two seniors and a transfer, our upperclassmen have the opportunity to step up and contribute.”
The Lions travel to Medaille tomorrow for the season opener and then return home for back-to-back matches against Pitt-Greensburg on Friday and Mt. Aloysius on Saturday, two AMCC opponents.