Women's tennis starting stong

By The Beacon | January 30, 2013 9:00pm

Senior Valeska Hoath readies to return a serve. Hoath has been one of the best players for women’s tennis in her four years and expects to make her final year the best yet.v (Jackie Jeffers | The Beacon)

By Taylor Tobin, Staff Writer tobint16@up.edu

The UP women's tennis team is using their youthful energy to their advantage as they start the season off by beating two undefeated teams. Six freshmen joined the team this year, all playing in top eight positions.

The Pilots have started the season strong with early wins against Eastern Washington (6-1) on Jan. 26 and Idaho (6-1) on Jan. 27, where they won all six singles matches and doubles matches. The Pilots start conference play at home on Feb. 6 against Saint Mary's.

Head Coach Susie Campbell-Gross is happy with her team's performance early in the season.

"We're very excited about this team," said Campbell-Gross. "They're young and they have a lot of energy and drive to do well. They have the mentality of 'let's get to work, let's work hard, and see how we can improve.'"

The two seniors on the team, Valeska Hoath and Sabine Fuchs, are looking forward to having the depth that the freshmen bring to the team.

"I'm excited for the season because we have 12 people on our team. It's almost double of what we've had for the last three years," said Hoath. "So moving forward, it means that we will give the teams we've played in the past with more depth a run for their money."

Along with depth, one of the team's strengths this season is their drive to perform well.

"As a team, it's been very positive this year-the effort from everyone and the energy going towards what we're trying to accomplish," Campbell-Gross said.

The team is preparing to take on opponents that have given them trouble in the past. The Pilots are especially looking forward to playing Gonzaga at home on March 9.

"We hate Gonzaga,

so a win against them is in the cards," said Hoath "It will be a good match. They are a good team, but we are also a good team this year."

Although they feel good about this season, the team knows that to perform in tough matches they will need to work on playing together in doubles.

"I think we're all really good individually," said Fuchs. "We just need to be more aggressive as a team in doubles and come out strong."

With conference play starting next week, the team is hoping for a bigger turnout of fans at home.

"It's definitely going to be a very good year for women's tennis, so it would be awesome for people to come and check it out," said Hoath. "Just stopping by for 30 minutes or so and cheering us on would be great."

Rockstar Freshmen

Saroop Dhatt

Marina Reimers

Emily Gould

Maja Mladenovic

Tori Troesch

Milagros Cubelli

Upcoming Home Games

Feb. 6 Saint Mary's 10 a.m.

Feb. 8 Portland State 11 a.m.

Feb. 10 UC Davis 10 a.m.

Feb. 25 Montana State 1 p.m.

Sophomore Anastasia Polyakova tosses up a serve against Idaho. Polyakova is expected to be one of the most productive players this year. (Jackie Jeffers | The Beacon)

Valeska Hoath (Jackie Jeffers | The Beacon)