Releases

For Immediate Release: September 11, 2008
Contact: David O'Brian (dobrian@binghamton.edu)
Phone: 607-777-6478

Binghamton women's tennis 2008-09 season preview

It is said that the better a college team gets, the better recruits they attract and that in turn leads to the program improving even more. Heading into the 2008-09 season, the Binghamton women’s tennis team appears to be following that blueprint. Having gone 54-20 in dual matches the past four years and earning runner-up honors three times in the America East Conference, the Bearcats are clearly attracting significant recruits.

Like last season, the Bearcats have a young squad this year. For the second time in a row, however, Tennisrecruiting.net cited the program as having one of the top incoming freshman classes in the nation among mid-major programs. Considering the fact that Binghamton went 13-6 last season and has added three significant newcomers, the season is shaping up to be another good one.

“We still have a young team but we have more depth this season. We have no seniors and one junior but we have our top four players back, which we are very happy about. We have three very good freshmen who we are looking for good things from. We are looking to improve on last year.”

Last year’s freshman class of Anna Edelman, Lauren Bates and Yulia Smirnova immediately took over the top three singles positions on the squad. Edelman was the America East Conference Rookie of the Year and she joined with Bates to form the No. 15 doubles team in the ITA East Region. Edelman and Bates also had promising showing in their first trip to the ITA East Regional Championships.

”Anna and Lauren had very good first years. They both played very well in both singles and doubles and they can get much better this year. They each worked hard over the summer and we look for them keep moving forward with their games this year.”

Smirnova, meanwhile, ended the season by winning all three of her singles matches at the America East Championships and being named to the conference’s all-tournament team. Her fitness level is among the best on the team.

”Yulia really came on strong last year in singles and doubles,” Stevens said. “She came back in great shape and we expect her to have another strong year for us.”

Also returning from last season are junior Danyelle Shapiro, the No. 4 singles player and sophomore Danyelle Kashou.

As for the newcomers, freshman Jillian Santos has been ranked as high as No. 88 in the country and ninth in New York State last year among high school seniors by tennisrecruiting.net. She has also been ranked as high as 18th in the Eastern Section by the USTA. Fellow freshman Kamila Sherlin and Emma Leibowicz also figure to be competitive for the starting positions in both singles and doubles play.

“All three freshmen have a chance to make the starting lineup,” Stevens said. “We expect them to be right there, knocking on the door to play in both singles and doubles.”

Besides the excitement over the team’s young but talented core of players, the schedule this season promises to be the best the program had has at the Division I level. In addition to the ITA East Regional Championships, the Bearcats will compete in the USTA National Collegiate
Tournament in the fall.

”It’s our first time in the USTA Tournament and it should be exciting,” Stevens said. “We are hoping to have a good number of entrees and are looking forward to what we can do against some of the top teams in the country.”

In dual matches, the Bearcats have significant matches against Harvard, Syracuse, Cornell and Temple. The focal point of the year, however, is the America East Championships April 24-26. The Bearcats have advanced to the finals in that event four times since 2003 and last year, put up a valiant showing against 10-time defending champion Boston.

“Each year, the America East gets better and better, which is great,” Stevens said. “It’s exciting that all of the teams in the conference will continue to improve this season, ourselves included. Our goal is to continue get a high seeding in the conference tournament.”

With a young team, there are several challenges the Bearcats will face at the start of the season. Come the spring, however, Stevens feels all the pieces can be in place for another impressive year.

”The biggest challenge this season is having a young team and making sure everyone is on the same page,” he said. “We hope to accomplish that this fall and then have the spring season to really work on doing well in the conference tournament.”

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