With eight returning players, and plenty of new faces added to the squad, the Stetson women’s tennis team is ready to begin fall competition, which begins this weekend at the College of Charleston Invitational.
The Hatters, who are scheduled to play in four tournaments this fall, will be led by a trio of seniors in Diana Bukajeva, Lindsey Cable, and MayaBlue Stauffer-MacDowell. Bukajeva played at number two and three singles last season, finishing with a staggering 17-2 record in 2013. Cable and Stauffer-MacDowell have seen action throughout the Stetson lineup in both singles and doubles play during their careers.
“Our three seniors are already embracing their responsibilities as leaders of this team,” Stetson Director of Tennis Pierre Pilote said. “Diana will certainly have an important role on this team. She leads by example both on and off the court. Again this year, she came back well prepared and improved from the previous year. Lindsey is hungry to better last year’s performance. She is more focused than ever, and I expect her to excel in her senior season. MayaBlue is working tirelessly despite a grueling academic schedule this semester. Her spring semester schedule, however, will be conducive to having a great senior season.”
In an effort to counteract the loss of outgoing seniors Sara Lazarevic and Jen Miller, Pilote recruited a large crop of newcomers for the 2014 season. Four freshmen joined the squad this fall, and sophomore transfer Cari Berry will come on board for the spring season.
“This team will have both experience and new energy, coming from a solid group of newcomers,” Pilote said. “This is a good combination and I anticipate that they will feed off one another. With 12 players vying for a position in the lineup (it will be 13 this coming spring) the competition is fierce. This can only help each of the players improve. The daily challenges will undoubtedly tell us which players strive under pressure.”
After this weekend’s tournament at College of Charleston, the Hatters will continue fall competition at the Wake Forest Invite Sept. 27-29, the Bedford Cup Oct. 10-13, and finally the Georgia Southern Invite Oct. 25-27.
“The fall will be telling and educational for our young players,” Pilote concluded. “It will tell us how ready they are to compete at this level. I expect them to learn and adapt to Division I tennis. For the returners, it’s another opportunity to improve, and to set the tone for the regular season this spring.”