CORAL GABLES – After hosting three matches and a tournament to start the year, the FGCU women’s tennis team gets its first taste of competition outside The Nest as it travels to Coral Gables for a contest against No. 9 Miami on Thursday at 5 p.m. After their match against the Hurricanes, the Eagles will return home to host FIU on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Bethune-Cookman Sunday at 1 p.m.
“This weekend is an exciting set of matches for the team as we have many opportunities to grow and be challenged,” head coach Courtney Vernon said. “I am excited to see what’s to come for the girls as they have been working hard and are ready to compete.”
TWO WEEKS IN
Sitting at 2-1, the Green and Blue started the championship season posting wins over Iowa State and Louisiana Tech before narrowly falling to UCF, 4-3, last Saturday. Over two weeks of competition the Eagles have racked up a total 41 individual match wins. Leading the team in singles wins with 7-0 records are sisters Sarah Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) and Elizabeth Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS). Sarah’s victory over UCF brought her career total to 40 singles wins, a tremendous number given she’s only two weeks into her third season with FGCU.
The ninth-ranked Hurricanes sit at 2-0 on the season with wins against No. 72 Ohio State and No. 65 LSU that solidified their spot in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February. With two dual matches and the Miami Spring Invite under their belt, Monique Albuquerque, Melissa Bolivar and No. 64 Kelsey Laurente each have tallied three singles victories, highlighted by Laurente’s win over No. 22 Breaunna Addison of the University of Texas. The No. 29 doubles pair of Albuquerque and Clementina Riobueno have been a flawless 3-0 in the No. 1 slot.
Yet to play a dual match, the Panthers started the season at the UCF Invite where they went 13-5 in singles play and earned three doubles wins in a field including UCF, North Florida and Furman. Leading the team with 3-0 singles records are Giulietta Boha, Aleksandra Trifunovic and Carlotta Orlando. In last season’s dual match FGCU pulled a comeback after dropping the doubles point to beat the Panthers 4-3.
Predicted to finish second in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Southern Division, the Wildcats kickoff the 2014 season with a south-Florida road swing this weekend. Before arriving in Ft. Myers B-CU will face St. Thomas (Miami Gardens) and Nova Southeastern on Saturday. In last spring’s dual match the Eagles breezed past B-CU with a 5-0 victory, to secure FGCU’s 11th win of the season, a Division I program-record.
For complete coverage of FGCU women’s tennis this weekend follow us on Twitter at @FGCU_WTEN and visit www.FGCUAthletics.com where full recaps and results will be available at the end of each day.