Clayton State women’s tennis to open season Saturday at Emory
MORROW, GA – The Clayton State women's tennis team will open its 2013 Championship season on Saturday, traveling to face one of the nation's top NCAA Division III teams in 4th-ranked Emory.
The season-opening match will begin at noon on Saturday on the campus of Emory University. After Saturday's match, the Lakers will turn around and open its home slate of matches on Sunday, hosting Clark-Atlanta in a 2 p.m. match at the Clayton State tennis complex.
After battling through several injuries during the 2012 season, the Clayton State squad is flying a little bit under the radar after consistently being one of the top NCAA Division II teams over the last several years.
Before last year's injury-plagued year, Clayton State had advanced to the national tournament for four straight years, including a trip to the NCAA Final Four in 2011 under head coach Le'Trone Mason.
"Preseason practices have been going great, and everybody has been working hard and putting in the effort that I'm looking for," said Mason, entering his third season as Laker coach. "If we stay healthy and we play to our abilities, the sky is the limit for these girls. With having such a rough year last year, we can really sneak up on a lot of teams. There's absolutely no pressure on us."
Clayton State finished with a 7-13 mark last year and a 6-6 record in the ultra-competitive Peach Belt Conference that features last year's NCAA Division II National Champion in Armstrong.
"The teams to beat in the conference are Armstrong and Columbus State," said Mason. "Armstrong is head and shoulders above everyone not only in the conference but in the country. "They're coming off an undefeated national championship season and are currently ranked #1 in the country. I like our chances against Columbus State and I think we match up very well against them."
Clayton State returns five players in 2013, including a trio of seniors in Jessica Budd, Charlotte Fabricius, and Ivana Krommelova. All three are multi-year letterwinners for Clayton State and members of Clayton State's 18-3 team that advanced to the Final Four in 2011.
"We have solid group of experienced seniors, who will provide us leadership during the grind of the tough Peach Belt schedule," said Mason.
"Hannah had a season-ending injury last year and has shown all the signs of being our best player so far," said Mason. "Martina looks like she's poised to have a break out year this year and could be playing very high in the lineup as well."
"Zinnia came in last semester and has settled into a fine and solid player," said Mason. "Raluca arrived on campus this semester and is starting to find her way and where she fits in with the team. Both girls are getting along with everyone and will be valuable additions to our squad."