Through sticking with the fundamentals, the UCI women’s tennis team will hope to make a return to the finals of the Big West Tournament in 2016 after failing to do so last season.
“We just have to be really true to what we’re committing to do, and playing basic fundamental tennis…putting a lot of balls into play, and not beating ourselves basically,” said head coach Mike Edles, who is entering his 20th season at the helm of the program. “It’s sort of been our trademark.
“If we stick with that, I think we should be fine.”
Last season, the Anteaters finished with a 15-9 (6-2 Big West) record, which tied them for second with UC Santa Barbara in the conference. Although the Anteaters had made seven consecutive finals appearances in the Big West Tournament, that streak was snapped due to a loss to the Gauchos in the semifinals last year.
The 10-person squad features a healthy mix of seasoned veterans and young blood alike, with half the team composed of freshmen and sophomores, and the other half of juniors and seniors.
Leading the way for the Anteaters this season will be senior captain Sarah Gong, who has competed at No. 1 singles spot since her sophomore year.
A critical component of the season will be the Anteater’s success in doubles, as the team will be without the services of twins Kat and Ali Facey, whom held down the fort at the No. 1 spot for the team last year.
“It’s going to be interesting, losing such a strong doubles team with the Faceys, but from last year, [it] looks like the pairing of Sarah Gong and Mazy Watrous is staying intact at this point, and they’re playing very well,” said Edles. “The team is looking pretty solid, and so is Andrea Duva and Vivian Davali, who is coming back from ACL surgery.
“They’re both looking quite strong.”