MACON, Ga. (Jan. 20, 2011) - After earning their second straight Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title last season, the ETSU women's tennis team was picked by the A-Sun coaches to finish first in the preseason poll, the league office announced today.
"It shows a lot of respect for what has been done in the past," said ETSU head coach Yaser Zaatini. "Obviously it is a great compliment to our women's program and I am sure we will be extremely competitive. Being number one without hitting a ball is all good and dandy, but everything will be decided when we actually go and play our conference matches."
The Bucs, who finished last season with a 17-5 overall record and a perfect 10-0 mark in conference play, paced the A-Sun preseason standings after being picked second in last season's preseason poll. ETSU was picked just ahead of UNF, who defeated the Bucs last season in the A-Sun Tournament final.
Stetson follows the Bucs and Ospreys in the third spot, while Florida Gulf Coast and Campbell rounded out the top-five. USC Upstate, Kennesaw State, Jacksonville, Mercer, Belmont, and Lipscomb completed the poll.
The Bucs are coming off their fourth-ever A-Sun Regular Season Championship. The team returns six key members from last year's squad including, first-team all-conference member Paula Jaime (Madrid, Spain) and second-team all-conference members Andra Voinea (Brasov, Romania) and Diana Navrosksta (Kviv, Ukraine).
The Bucs have also added two newcomers to the team for 2011. Freshman Giulia Andreazza (Balneario Camboriu, Brazil) had a solid fall tournament season as she tied for the team lead with 10 wins. Marine Wieliczko (Rouen, France) is another newcomer that looks to become an important piece to the lineup as she will see her first action this spring.
UNF's Aline Berkenbrock, the 2010 A-Sun Player of the Year, earned the Preseason Player of the Year honor after finishing last season 12-0 within conference play at No. 1 singles. Stetson's pair of Carolina de los Santos and Unnati Purushotham received the Preseason Doubles Team of the Year honor.
The Bucs get their season underway today as they host Milligan at 6 p.m. inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. ETSU will then hit the road for eight straight matches beginning next Friday at Eastern Kentucky.
2011 A-Sun Women's Tennis Preseason Coaches' Poll
6. USC Upstate
7. Kennesaw State
Women's Singles Player of the Year
Aline Berkenbrock, UNF
Women's Doubles Team of the Year
Carolina de los Santos / Unnati Purushotham, Stetson
For more information on ETSU women's tennis please go to ETSUBucs.com and click on the women's tennis link. Also, be sure to follow ETSU Athletics on Facebook and Twitter.