Jan. 17, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's tennis team leads off its 2014 schedule with a doubleheader on Sunday. The Spartans will battle Toledo at 11 a.m. and Detroit at 5 p.m. Both matches will be held at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility and admission is free.
"We have prepared ourselves well and look forward to this Sunday," sixth-year head coach Simone Jardim said. "We feel that this year will be a breakthrough year for our team."
The Spartans will look to bounce back from the 2012-13 season, a season in which MSU compiled an 11-16 overall record and a 1-10 mark in Big Ten conference play. As Coach Jardim noted, though, she is looking for a rebound from this team.
MSU returns nine players from last season, including five seniors. The Spartans have a good mix of returning talent pairing with a group of talented underclassmen.
"Leadership is what we're looking for and the seniors know how the program works," Jardim said in a preseason interview. "We have good seniors who can help out with the younger ones and show them the way and teach them the way."
No. 1 singles player and senior co-captain Marina Bohrer is the top returner. Bohrer posted an 18-13 overall and a 14-11 dual match record. Bohrer was also invited to participate in the singles pre-qualifying bracket of the ITA Women's All-American Championships in Sept. 2013. She was the first player under Coach Jardim to compete in the nationally-acclaimed tournament.
Senior co-captain Katarina Lingl is also one of the top returnees. Lingl has shown great leadership as well as solid all-around play during her Spartan career. She posted a 7-6 overall singles record and a 4-5 doubles record last season.
The talented class of underclassmen includes sophomore Emily Meyers and four freshmen: Athena Trouillot, Erin Faulkner, Emmy Virkus and Anna Zelechonok. Meyers tallied an 18-13 singles record last season. She also earned a win in the singles qualifying draw of the ITA Midwest Regional Championships. Meyers finished her fall schedule on a three-match winning streak and won four of her last five. Meyers also teams with junior Julianne Gruber in doubles play. At the ITA Midwest Regional Championships, Meyers and Gruber advanced to the round of 32 and they were good for a 14-7 record last season.
Last Point Played
MSU last hit the court Oct. 26-27, 2013, when it hosted the Green & White Invitational. Eleven Spartans saw action against in-state foes Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan, as well as Louisville.
Take on Toledo
The Rockets finished the 2012-13 season with an overall record of 8-13 and a 2-6 mark in Mid-American Conference play. Toledo was just 2-8 in away matches.
Senior Chrissy Coffman leads the way in singles play under eleventh-year head coach Tracy Mauntler. Coffman posted an 11-10 dual record and was 5-3 in conference action last season. Coffman split time between the No. 1, 2 and 3 courts. She tallied a 12-1 singles record in the 2013 fall schedule.
Sophomore Mackenzie Bowman is the top doubles player after an 11-10 record last year. Bowman spent time on all three courts and teamed with sophomore Emily Mazzola to go 6-4 in doubles action.
Under Coach Jardim, MSU is 5-0 against Toledo. The last time the teams played in a dual-match setting, MSU blanked Toledo 7-0 on Feb. 2, 2013.
When Toledo comes to town Sunday, it will not be the first time it has faced the Spartans this season. MSU hosted the Spartan Invitational Sept. 27-29 and Toledo was in attendance.
Overall for the tournament, MSU tallied a 7-4 singles and an 0-2 doubles mark against the Rockets. The freshman class of Athena Trouillot, Erin Faulkner, Emmy Virkus and Anna Zelechonok combined for a 4-0 singles record versus Toledo.
Down Low on Detroit
The Titans are coming off a 12-6 record last season, including a 5-2 mark in Horizon League play and a 4-5 record in away matches. Head coach Pjotrs Necajevs is in his second season leading the team.
Sophomore Valery Kulikovskaya is the top returning singles player. She tallied a 22-8 overall record, including 12-4 in dual matches and 6-1 in conference play. Kulikovskaya's 22 wins were tied for fifth-most in school history. Sophomores Nino Sujashvili and Irina Slizovskaya both spent some time competing on the No. 1 court last season.
Kulikovskaya is also the top returning doubles player, as she posted a 19-7 overall and a 13-4 dual match record.
Under Coach Jardim, MSU is 5-0 against Detroit. The last time the schools met, Jan. 29, 2013 in East Lansing, MSU shut out the Titans 7-0.
Offseason News and Notes
MSU added two new members to its 2014 recruiting class. Lexi Baylis (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) and Alexandra Baer (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy Pendleton School) signed their National Letters of Intent in November and will continue their tennis careers in Green and White.
The Michigan State women's tennis program was recognized by MSU's Student Athlete Support Services in November for earning an NCAA Graduation Success Rate and a Federal Graduation Rate of 100 percent. A perfect score reflects the program and the coaches' priority toward academic excellence.