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UNF Spinnaker

Women’s tennis has strong showing at preseason invitational

The UNF women’s tennis team enters the 2011 season with a No. 70 ranking, and after playing at the FCGU invitational over the weekend, new coach Chastity Bradley was very happy with the teams’ performance.

Bradley said she was appointed as interim head coach a couple of weeks back and is definitely looking to stay on full time after this season. The way the athletes came back strong after Christmas specifically impressed her.

Despite the positives, Bradley said the team still has a lot to work on in order to be prepared for the Conference.

“One area that needs the most improvement is our doubles play,” she said. “We have been working on some new formations and they are going to take some time to perfect, but the girls executed them well, considering.”

One formation Bradley introduced to the team was the I formation. It consists of one player serving while the other ducks down below the net, giving signals behind her back. These signals indicate which side the player at the net is going to move to after the serve. The other player at the baseline will react accordingly. The purpose is to take the returner by surprise, but in order for it to be executed properly the serve has to be just right.

“If done effectively, we can win a lot of service points,” Bradley said. “It was new to the girls, but they did really well with it.”

Bradley also applauded the team spirit and chemistry.

“We have some new partnerships,” she said. “They need to play together a bit more to develop chemistry, but overall, they worked together fantastically.”

Junior Aline Berkenbrock continued her good form from last year and made it to the final of the flight one singles in the tournament. She eventually lost to Louisville’s Julia Fellerhoff 6-2, 6-1.

“I think this tournament is a great opportunity for us to get ready for the spring season,” Berkenbrock said.

However, many matches on the third day of play were abandoned due to the rainy weather. Senior Victoria Krook, freshman Simona Weymar and sophomore Melanie Aguirre did not play during the final day of competition.

Krook, who recorded a fifth place victory in the singles flight five, insists the tournament was good preparation despite the rain.

“Everyone has had a good couple of matches and we are playing well,” Krook said.

Junior Danielle Day and Weymar had advanced to the flight four doubles’ finals but lost to No. 25 Illinois’ duo Leigh Finnigan and Amy Allin 8-4 Jan. 17.

Despite the team’s impressive performance last year, Bradley doesn’t feel she needs to replicate the success.

“We only lost two players, but Simona Weymar of Rosenheim, Germany will be a big player for us this year and hopefully fill the gaps,” Bradley said. “She had a very good tournament and was my MVP for the first day of play.”

Overall, Bradley was just happy with the performance of her team in the tournament and is confident for the upcoming season.

“The girls have a lot of talent, but I want them to be confident enough that they can repeat last year’s success,” she said. Our number one goal is to win the conference again.”

The team starts its official season at the Florida A&M tournament in Jacksonville Jan. 30.

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