Depth to key team’s improvement

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Head coach Jody Bronson said she was tremendously disappointed with how the team ended last year and felt that they should have done better.,”

The women’s tennis program hasn’t had a winning season since 2000. This year’s squad, which returns its top six singles players from 2006 and opens its season Saturday against Illinois, hopes to break its streak of losing seasons.

Head coach Jody Bronson said she was tremendously disappointed with how the team ended last year and felt that they should have done better.

“Obviously, I want to have a winning season,” Bronson said. “I think we’re capable of doing it, but in an individual sport everybody has to be on a certain level when they step on the court to compete both mentally and physically.”

One major change this year is that the roster increased from nine to 12 players, adding depth to the team. As for determining the top spots, “from week to week it can change,” Bronson said. “If someone’s struggling, there’s going to be someone who can step in for them. If someone’s injured there’s going to be someone who can step in for them.”

With the increased competition for playing time, Bronson said that there is a whole new energy and awareness among the players. They must do well against their teammates at practices if they want the chance to prove their worth at matches.

“We need more mental strength to just believe that we can do it so that we can actually close the matches,” said junior Maria Calbeto, last year’s number one player.

Calbeto said she sees more commitment from everyone this year.

“I’m expecting a lot more from the team and there’s more competition among us, so the lineup is going to be different every week,” Calbeto said. “We’re gonna be trying to beat each other in practice to try to get on the top.

Joining Calbeto as the top returning singles players are sophomore Lauren Little, junior Erin Watkins and senior Dominika Dabrowski.

“I think (the returning players) have made concessions in order to be able to put themselves in a situation where they’re going to be able to be successful,” Bronson said. “I know that my players are capable of competing at a national level.”

“,”Sara J. Martinez”

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