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Women’s Tennis Season Preview
Bearcats begin fall competition Friday at Columbia Invitational
September 13, 2012Tweet
Contact: Mike Porter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
NOT LOOKING TO REBUILD, BUT RELOAD
Last season, the Binghamton University women’s tennis team was in many ways a senior laden team. With a trio of seniors guiding the way, the Bearcats finished the year with a record of 10-13 and an impressive 11th consecutive trip to the America East semifinals. Faced with the task of replacing that experience and guile, Binghamton enters this upcoming season with essentially a clean slate. With just two returners back from a season ago (both sophomores), the Bearcats usher in a cast of youthful, energetic and talented players who are ready to step in and fill the void.
Sophomores Katherine Medianik and Missy Edelblum are the only returning players with experience from a season ago. Medianik, who hails from Brooklyn, turned in a consistent first year for Binghamton in 2012. She played extremely well in the spring, going 11-11 in dual matches, including a strong record of 7-3 at the fifth singles position. Alongside senior Marina Bykovskaya for most of the year, she registered a 13-18 record on the doubles court and was influential in Binghamton’s 4-0 sweep of Hartford in the quarterfinals of the America East tournament.
Edelblum cumulated a singles record of 11-16 playing at the back end of the lineup and was strong in doubles play, especially in tournament play, going 7-6 in the fall. One of her highlights came in her first event as a
collegiate player, winning the B Flight championship crown at the Cornell Fall Invitational.
Unlike a season ago, both Edelblum and Medianik will be counted upon not only to perform on the court but also to lead and provide a solid example. Third-year head coach Libby McGovern believes that despite only one year of experience, both players are ready to take on a leadership role.
“Both Missy (Edelblum) and Katya (Medianik) have really stepped up as leaders for us,” McGovern said. “I have already seen it every day in practice. Whether it be with their attitude, showing a strong work ethic, or offering a piece of advice, these two have been solid mentors for our newcomers.”
Binghamton welcomes five new players to the program, consisting of four freshmen and a junior college transfer. The group consists of talent from three different states (New York, Illinois and Chicago) and all have terrific upside that excites McGovern for not only this year but for years to come.
“Our group of freshmen has really impressed me thus far,” McGovern explained. “They are picking up things in practice very quickly and have shown an ability to hit a variety of creative and effective shots. Collectively, they are all terrific baseline players and have given me nothing but positive thoughts for the upcoming year.”
Agatha Ambrozy is a freshman from St. Petersburg, Fla. who has an impressive high school background. Ambrozy is a three-time district singles champion in her state of Florida and qualified for a pair of trips to the state championship in doubles play. Armed with a big serve and a heavy hit ball, Ambrozy will be counted on as a staple in the lineup.
Fellow Florida native, Shea Brodsky also joins the program in 2012. Hailing from Dr. Michael Krop Senior HS in Miami Beach, Brodsky is a four-year letterwinner who has been a part of three state championship teams. Individually, she has won a state championship in singles play and a pair of championships in doubles. An aggressive and all-court player, Brodsky excels at putting her opponents on the defensive with her attacking mentality.
Sara Kohtz comes to Binghamton from Chicago, Ill. where she was a four-year letterwinner at Lincoln Park HS. Kohtz qualified for state championship play all four years in singles and won a pair of sectional championships to culminate her high school career. A scrappy and competitive player, Kohtz has the ability to fight and claw her way through a match, creating a frustrating task for opponents.
Four-year letterwinner Alexis Tashiro from Jamaica, NY wraps up the freshmen group. Tashiro compiled an impressive mark of 36-10 throughout her singles career at Francis Lewis HS and was the winner of the Mayor’s Cup doubles championship as a junior. Another strong baseline player, Alexis has a lot of shots at her disposal to put competitors on their heels.
Junior college transfer Amrita Deol enters the program from Onondaga Community College in Syracuse. Playing at No.1 singles and doubles, Amrita helped OCC advance to the NCJAA national tournament and a sixth-place overall finish. A graduate of Skaneateles HS, Deol played four years and earned MVP honors during her senior season. A consistent and all-around solid player, Deol will provide depth, stability and experience for Binghamton in the lineup.
The season will be split up into two competitive seasons. The fall is comprised of four tournaments that are divided up amongst individuals competing against one another in flights, rather than head-to-head team dual matches, which will begin in the winter and conclude in the spring.
For a young squad, the fall schedule will provide a great learning experience for the upcoming months of competition. With five new players, McGovern can’t stress how important it is for her team to get tested and tested early.
“The fall is going to be a very important season for us because for a lot of our girls, this is going to be their first taste of college tennis. It’s important they get a chance to compete as individuals first and gain experience without having the pressure of losing a match for their team. They can adapt and get comfortable on the court with their teammates, learn my coaching style and understand our team’s philosophy in a somewhat stress-free environment.”
The fall begins with a pair of tournaments hosted by Ivy League opponents Columbia (Sept. 14-16) and Brown (Sept. 21-23). The Bearcats get two weeks of practice before their next tournament at the famed USTA National Tennis Center Invitational. At fall’s end, Binghamton’s top performers will get a chance to showcase their talent on a more national level as some will play at the ITA Regional hosted by Army. In 2010, former BU standout Anna Edelman turned in the school’s best result at the event, finishing runner-up in singles play.
The spring will provide some difficult competition to navigate through as they culminate the season with the America East Championship beginning on April 26. With a total of 23 dual matches, the Bearcats square off with six Ivy League opponents and a pair of Big East competitors in Syracuse and Pittsburgh to name a few. A spring trip down to Virginia spanning four days pits the America East’s own versus Richmond, James Madison and VCU. Three home games are on the schedule for the spring, including a double header versus Stony Brook and Hartford on April 6 at the newly renovated West Gym courts.
“I felt that our schedule in the past few years wasn’t as tough as it needed to be,” McGovern said. “We had a few too many matches that allowed us to relax and didn’t keep us on our toes. I purposely put together this tough schedule because if you continue to push yourself and compete at a high level consistently, you are going to progress at a much higher rate. Our goal is to be peaking at the end of the year and take our experiences against tough quality opponents with us to the court at the America East tournament.”
With a handful of new players on board and a total of seven underclassmen, it’s unpredictable what the 2012-13 season might bring, but that’s what Coach McGovern is embellishing. A roster that she claims is full of versatility, a strong work ethic and great energy and movement on the court is something the 2011 America East Coach of the Year is excited to watch develop.
“Something we have on our side is our unpredictability. In tennis, that is something that can’t be understated. If we can maintain that and keep our heads throughout our matches I think we will see lots of successes this year. We are very encouraged with what this team has shown us already and I can’t wait to start the season and watch us compete.”