Nationally-ranked TCU women's tennis program releases 2007 spring schedule
Jan. 8, 2007
FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU women's tennis, defending Mountain West Conference Champions and 2006 NCAA Sweet 16 participants, released its 2007 spring schedule that includes 12 contests against opponents who finished in the top-50 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Associating rankings last season, five of which finished in the top-25.
"We feel that a tough schedule during the season not only helps our ranking to position us for NCAA play, but that it prepares us mentally for the Mountain West Conference and NCAA Tournament," TCU head coach Jefferson Hammond said. "A good example is our spring break stretch where we have three tough matches on the road. If you test yourself during the season, you will be better off for it come post-season. Also, making the National Indoor Team Championship gives us the potential to play a total of eight matches against the top-10. Our strength of schedule is a real positive for us."
Hammond, the 2006 Southwest Region Assistant Coach of the Year, is regarded as one of the top young coaches in the country and he enters his first year at the helm of the women's program. Hammond served as the TCU women's tennis assistant coach the past two years. He took over the position recently vacated by Dave Borelli (who is now the TCU men's head coach) in August of 2006.
As a coaching pair in 2005 and 2006, the Borelli-Hammond duo placed the TCU women's tennis program among the nation's elite collegiate programs. Not only did the Horned Frogs make deep runs in the NCAA Tournament, but TCU also finished both campaigns with top-20 rankings.
The Frogs' 2006 season was filled with many firsts and notable accomplishments. All indications from the outset proved the Frogs would have a strong year as the team began the 2006 season ranked 14th according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's preseason poll. Four Horned Frogs were ranked in the top 50 in singles, and one doubles duo placed in the top-50 as well. Having four Frogs ranked among the top 50 in singles was a school record.
The Frogs picked up their first big win of the season by knocking off seventh-ranked Vanderbilt 4-3 at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors. Beating the Commodores tied a TCU school record for highest ranked team defeated. Notably, the Borelli-Hammond pair also established the previous record (a 4-3 win over No. 7 Clemson) the season before.
After its run at the National Team Indoors, the Frogs leaped four spots in the polls to grab the No. 12 ranking - the highest in program history. The 2006 campaign also marked TCU's inaugural season as a member of the Mountain West Conference and the Frogs quickly established dominance as the rookie member of the league. TCU went 8-0 versus MWC foes to win the regular-season title and grab the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. With the No. 1 spot, the Frogs rolled through the tournament to capture the crown.
For their efforts in league competition, several Frogs grabbed all-conference accolades. Senior Helena Besovic, junior Ana Cetnik, sophomore Nicole Leimbach and freshman Anna Sydorska garnered singles plaudits. Besovic, Cetnik, Sydorska and sophomore Andrea Morgado pulled in doubles recognition. Sydorska was recognized as the conference Freshman of the Year and Borelli was named Coach of the Year.
Following league play, the Frogs made history as they became the first TCU women's program to host the opening rounds of the NCAAs. The regional consisted of Arkansas, Conference USA champion Rice, 18th-ranked Texas and the Horned Frogs.
The first round saw TCU dispatch Rice 4-0 to make its second-straight round two showing. Having never advanced past the regionals, the Frogs had history on the line once again and the Longhorns stood in the way. TCU delivered and knocked off to the University of Texas, 4-0, to move on to its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance.
Despite falling to No. 1 and eventual three-time champion Stanford, the Horned Frogs continued to roll in the awards. Senior Gloriann Lopez was named the ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award recipient for the 2006 season. Lopez, the team captain, finished the regular season with a record of 16-3. The ITA/Arthur Ashe Award goes to a player who has exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
Sydorska received her second Freshman of the Year honor as she was recognized in the Southwest Region by the ITA.
In the final individual polls, Leimbach ranked 19th which is the third-highest finish for a Horned Frog singles player in program history (Rene Simpson 12th in 1988, Story Tweedie-Yates 11th in 2005). The Colorado Springs, Colo., product also picked up ITA All-America honors for her efforts during the season. The sophomore was also the first TCU Grand Slam champion as she brought home the Riviera/ITA All-American Championship. Besovic finished 29th in singles, 13th in doubles alongside Cetnik and 24th while paired with Sydorska. The 13th-place finish is the second highest in program history behind Simpson and Teresa Dobson, who completed the 1988 season with a No. 12 slotting.
The TCU women's program had a tremendous fall campaign and two players, Ana Cetnik and Anna Sydorska, were crowned national runners-up at the 2006 ITA National Indoor Doubles Championship. In addition, three TCU players earned preseason national rankings in singles.
On Dec. 7, the program received news that it has been selected for the 2007 USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which takes place over Feb. 1-4 at the University of Wisconsin. It will mark the Horned Frogs' second straight appearance in the national event.
Only 16 teams comprise the field at the prestigious event, which in addition to TCU includes Baylor, BYU, California, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Pepperdine, Stanford, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia Commonwealth and Wisconsin.
Eight letterwinners return from last year's squad: Melissa Beré, Ana Cetnik, Karine Ionesco, Nicole Leimbach, Gabby Lopez, Andrea Morgado, Kewa Nichols, and Anna Sydorska. The team added transfer Macall Harkins, a junior that came from the University of Illinois, and freshman Nina Munch-Soegaard (Amarillo, Texas/home schooled) is the lone rookie on the squad.
Harkins will sit for the year due to NCAA transfer rules; therefore, nine players are eligible to compete.
TCU opens dual match play on Feb. 20 with contests scheduled against Texas State and UT-Arlington at home.