July 8, 2010
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By Brian Ormiston
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - After finishing the 2010 season with a 13-7 record and its highest seed at the Conference USA Championship since joining the league in 2005-06, the UCF women's tennis team has been very busy this summer. Head coach Stephanie Nickitas sat down with UCFAthletics.com to discuss the latest on the Knights.
Q: Where have you traveled in the summer recruiting process?
A: So far this summer I've been to a National Open in Norcross, GA, while Tony went to the Florida Open as well as the Florida State Closed. In June I traveled to England for two ITF events. The AEGON International Junior Tennis Championships at Roehampton followed by Wimbledon Juniors. The talent level at both events was very high and it's quite different watching them play on grass courts. I also met with a few of the Lawn Tennis Association player development coaches. They are beginning to encourage their young British players to choose American universities as an option to continue their tennis careers instead of turning pro at too early of an age.
Next week, assistant coach Tony Giannoni and I will go to the Girl's 18's National Clay Courts in Memphis. In early August, I will go to the Girls 18s Team Championships in Claremont, CA and Tony will join me for the Girls 18's Hard Courts in San Diego. We are looking to fill only one available spot for 2011-12. It's going to be a pretty competitive year.
Q: For 2010-11, you will have three new players on the courts so what are you expecting during preseason practices starting Sept. 10?
A: Immediately our new players will have a huge impact on this team with two true freshmen in Courtney Griffith and Josephine Haraldson who I expect to be playing right off the bat. They will of course have to get themselves settled into college life, but they are both tremendously good players and will help both in singles and doubles. And then we have Genevieve Lorbergs who will now be able to compete after having to sit out last season. So the whole dynamic of the team is going to change.
Q: What about your current players? Have they been competing in any tournaments this summer?
A: Genevieve has been competing in Australia and played in three tournaments. It was really great for her to get out and compete because she had to be held out of the all competitions last year. We've communicated a lot via E-mail and Skype about her experiences on the match courts. Jenna Doerfler and Allison Hodges are currently at an ITA Summer Circuit tournament at Florida State.
Jenny Frisell and Andrea Yacaman were here for Summer A, Alexis Rodriguez is here for Summer B and Jenna Doerfler lives in Winter Park so has been around all summer. They have had the opportunity to get into the weight room with strength coach Ben Fleming, and then we spent time with them on the court to focus on more individual technically-oriented things. It is great for them to be here to work on their games and tweak a few things. The biggest positive has been for them to improve their fitness levels. Coach Fleming has done a tremendous job with the girls both in the weight room and on the track. They are able to build a stronger fitness base and will definitely see the results once the season comes around. It's hard to get this kind of work done in the fall because we compete just a few weeks after school starts.
Q: Speaking of fall tournaments, are you scheduled to have any here at UCF?
A: Tentatively our first tournament will be at Miami, then we host one before going to ITA Regionals. We will then finish up the fall with another home tournament. In the first event, we have Arkansas, Missouri and Purdue. Arkansas was No. 22 in the country last spring, Purdue was a top-50 program and Missouri is of course in the Big 12. So we are excited to bring them on campus. And the same goes for our second tournament where we host Stetson, North Florida and Virginia Tech.