@FGCU_WTEN Springs Into Regular Season
Thursday, January 16, 2014 | by Sara Roberts (@Saraannerob)
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FORT MYERS, Fla. – After adapting to a new system during the fall tournament circuit, the FGCU women’s tennis team makes its home debut under first-year head coach Courtney Vernon this weekend as it welcomes four opponents to The Nest for a fast-paced entrance to the 2014 regular season.

The Green and Blue will start the weekend with head-to-head competition against Iowa State on Friday at 1:00 p.m. before hosting the FGCU Spring Invitational running from Saturday through Monday. In addition to Iowa State, joining the Eagles in the annual tournament are Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic and Northwestern State University (Louisiana). Afterhaving success last season in both the dual match against Iowa State and the FGCU Spring Invite, the Eagles will be looking to duplicate that performance as they serve into 2014.

“We are looking forward to starting the season; spring season is an exciting time of year,” Vernon said. “Our team has an opportunity to learn and grow unlike any other time of year. The girls have been training hard mentally and physically and are looking forward to a great weekend of home competition. It is not every day we get to host a tournament with multiple teams at our home courts.”

NEW TO THE NEST
Joining the roster this spring is freshman Breana Stampfli (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago/St. Joseph’s Convent) who enrolled at FGCU this semester. After graduating high school in July 2013, the Trinidad and Tobago native spent the fall playing six International Tennis Federation tournaments around the Western Hemisphere. Highlighting her tournament circuit was her win of the Copa Dunlop Tournament main draw, and semifinal appearances in four others.  

LAST TIME VS. IOWA STATE
This weekend gives history a chance to repeat itself as FGCU’s first home win of 2013 came over Iowa State after the Eagles handed the Cyclones a 5-2 defeat. Pulling ahead right out of the gate, the Eagles quickly claimed the doubles point as partners Sarah Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) and Elizabeth Means (Wesley Chapel, Fla./Wiregrass Ranch HS) picked up the first win, 8-1, followed by Gyanna Mandic (Oshowa, Canada/Edison Academies) and Johanna Sterkel (Schwetzingen, Germany/Carl-Theodor-Schule HS) with an 8-6 victory. The Eagles didn’t slow down once singles play began as they picked up wins in the two, four, five and six slots.

2013 SPRING INVITE
Highlighting the Eagles run through their annual home tournament was Mandic and Sterkel’s claim of the doubles flight two title with a 9-7 win over Northwestern State’s Tatiana Larina and Andrea Nedorostova. Over the course of the three-day invitational, the Green and Blue collected a total 15 victories against a field that included 2012 A-Sun Champion North Florida and two-time defending Sun Belt Conference Champion North Texas, both of which made the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

DUAL MATCH DYNAMICS
Although they’ve seen a 10-week hiatus from match action, the Eagles enter Friday afternoon’s one-on-one contest eager to unveil their offseason preparations against the Cyclones. After finishing the 2013 regular season with program Division-I record 11 victories, the Eagles look to extend their winning ways into 2014. When competing on the hard courts of the FGCU Tennis Complex, the Green and Blue retained an impressive six wins, two of which came over opponents in high-major conferences the Big XII and Big East. 

FALL FLASHBACK
After welcoming Vernon in mid-September, the team spent the 2013 fall season focusing on different aspects of the game as they competed in four tournaments. Leading the Eagles through their fall tour was junior Sarah Means picking up eight singles wins, including a win of the Bedford Cup Backdraw in early October. Highlighting doubles play was the international pair of Sterkel and Bettina Botha (Cape Town, South Africa/De Kuilen HS) whose Bedford Cup quarterfinals win and semifinals appearance dubbed them all-time furthest-advancing FGCU players in the tournament filled with Florida’s best. 

For complete coverage of FGCU women’s tennis this weekend 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.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE

FRIDAY
1 PM – match vs. Iowa State

SATURDAY
8 AM  -   First round of Singles play begins
10:30 AM  -  Second round of singles play begins
1-2 PM  -  Break for lunch
2 PM  -   Doubles play begins
4 PM  -  Matches finished

SUNDAY
9 AM  -    Doubles play begins
10 AM -   First round singles play
1:00 PM -   Break for lunch
2:00 PM  -   Second round of singles play begins
4:30 PM  -   Matches finished

MONDAY
9 am -   Final rounds of singles and Doubles