WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW women’s tennis team knocked on the door last spring and hope to break through it this year as the new season opens Saturday with a 1 p.m. debut against visiting North Carolina A&T at the UNCW courts.
Coach Evan Clark enters his second campaign after leading the Seahawks to a 14-7 mark last year and a first-ever appearance in the Colonial Athletic Association finals.
The Seahawks and Aggies get under way at 1 p.m. Admission is free.
“We are really excited to get the season kicked off this weekend,” said second-year Head Coach Evan Clark. “Everyone is more comfortable this year. I’m more comfortable with the group, they are more comfortable with me and that makes for a much smoother process. I truly enjoy coming to work with this group each day and am very excited to see what we can accomplish this year.”
The Seahawks won eight of their last 10 matches before falling in the CAA championship match to No. 49 William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. It was a highly successful season by most accounts, but fell short of what Clark wants to see.
“We were obviously extremely disappointed with our result in the CAA Championship last year,” added Clark. “We have a very determined group that is dedicated to working hard for the ultimate goal of winning a title this year. This group has improved tremendously over the summer and fall, and even in the short time this spring so we are confident that we will have a very successful season.”
The 2013-14 roster features 10 players, including three freshmen, one sophomore, three juniors and three seniors. Veterans Olga Blank, Kelly Cameron, Miller Hales, Hamilton Lovett, Alyssa Ritchie and Angie Sekely figure to lead the squad.
Cameron (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) and Ritchie (Franklin, Ohio) fashioned identical 16-4 singles records to lead the team, which finished with a 74-40 (.649) mark in singles. Kharkevich, a sophomore from Houston, carved out a 14-6 record for the second-most wins in her first year with the team.
In doubles, the Seahawks compiled a 33-22 (.600) record, led by the doubles teams of Cameron Hales and Kharkevich-Ritchie, both All-CAA honorees.
Five different players on last year’s team earned All-CAA honors, including Sekely, who became just the second player in school history to take home First-Team accolades.
The schedule features 18 matches, evenly split between home and away matches. The Seahawks will play just four regular season matches against conference foes before competing in the CAA Championships on April 17-20 in Wiliamsburg.
“The schedule is much more balanced this year,” said Clark. “The schedule will challenge us at spots and will provide us with much more spacing. That will allow us to have the proper rest as we make a run in the CAA Championship in April.”