GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With three weeks and one tournament under the belt of head coach Courtney Vernon, the FGCU women’s tennis team looks to lay the groundwork for a successful season as it continues the 2013 fall campaign this weekend at the Bedford Cup hosted by the University of Florida. The tournament is slated to run Thursday through Sunday with all matches played at the Ring Tennis Complex in The Swamp.
Founded in 2011, the Bedford Cup is a battle ground for top players from nine of the 11 Division I women’s tennis programs in the state of Florida. Sponsored by the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida and the Edward T. Bedford Foundation, the tournament includes a 64-player singles draw and a 32-player doubles draw.
“I am excited for our team this weekend,” said Vernon. “This is another great opportunity to get a few matches in and continue to work on our goals. The ladies have been working very hard and deserve this opportunity to compete this weekend.”
Right Out the Gate
The Eagles opened their fall tour at the end of last month with play against USF, FAU and UCF in the Knights Invitational. The Green and Blue racked up five singles wins and swept both FAU and UCF in doubles, posting a 4-2 record.
Bedford Cup 2012
To end last year’s fall tour, three of the team’s current members participated in the Bedford Cup, with Sarah Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) advancing the furthest playing in the round of 16. Over the course of the tournament the Eagles picked up one doubles and four singles wins, each of which were earned by the three returning players.
Last season the Eagles posted a program-best 11-7 record and advanced to the semifinals in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, marking their second straight season with postseason wins. The Eagles coupled their winning season with an FGCU record-breaking 3.78 spring GPA, the highest GPA ever recorded by a team in a semester. The 3.78 team GPA marked the fifth straight year the women’s tennis program has had the highest mark in at least one semester during the academic year.
BACK TO THE BASELINE
Leading the team in total wins this season is sophomore Johanna Sterkel (Schwetzingen, Germany/Carl-Theodor-Schule HS) who holds a 2-1 record in both singles and doubles. Sterkel takes on Courtney Cesarini of UCF, who beat Candela Munoz Giron (Alicante, Spain/Troy) 6-2, 6-1 earlier this season, in the round of 64 Thursday.
After advancing to the round of 16 last year, Sarah Means returns to the Bedford Cup looking to build upon the success of her previous appearances. She begins her weekend with a round of 64 match against USF’s Olga Martinez, who beat Munoz Giron 6-4, 6-4 last month.
Hoping to continue the legacy her older sister started, Elizabeth Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) looks to advance beyond the round of 32, where she ended play in her first Bedford Cup. She begins her journey with a first-round match against conference-foe Mayablue Studder-MacDowell of Stetson.
Botha Brings It
After claiming two victories in the last day of the UCF Invite, Bettina Botha (Cape Town, South Africa/De Kuilen HS) aims to extend her win streak as she faces Stetson’s Andrea Crespo in the round of 64 on Thursday.
Cheering for Candela
After transferring from Troy, Munoz Giron looks to tally her first victory in the Green and Blue as she faces Valentine Beresinste of Bethune-Cookman in the round of 64.
Lean Mean Winning Machines
The Means sisters, holding a 12-5 collegiate doubles record, will channel their inner Venus and Serena as they take to the court together this weekend, beginning with a first-round match against the UCF team of Griffith and Cesarini Thursday at 9 a.m. Earlier in the year the sisters laid an 8-6 win on Griffith and another UCF player.
An International Affair
The German-South African mix of partners Sterkel and Botha bring an international flair to the Green and Blue. Holding a 2-1 fall-tour record, the duo takes on Matsuba of Chinchilla B-CU in the first round of the doubles draw.
For complete coverage of FGCU women’s tennis at the Bedford Cup follow us on Twitter at @FGCU_WTEN and visit www.FGCUAthletics.com where full recaps and results will be available at the end of each day.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Thursday, September 26:
First Round Doubles - begins at 9:00 a.m.
Doubles Round of 16
First Round Singles – begins following doubles play
Friday, September 27:
Singles Second Round
Singles Round of 16
Doubles Round of 16
Saturday, September 28:
Sunday, September 29: