PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Under the direction of second-year head coach Judy Switzer, the Plymouth State College women's tennis team begins the 1999 campaign this Thursday (Sept. 9) with a home match at the P.E. Center Courts.
The Panthers will host Castleton State College in the first dual of the season Thursday at 4 p.m. It is the first of 12 dual matches this fall for PSC. The schedule culminates on the weekend of Oct. 16-17, which is Homecoming at PSC, when the Panthers host the annual Little East Conference Tournament.
PSC registered a 3-6-1 overall record last fall and placed fourth at the LEC Tournament, but Switzer is optimistic that she has the unit that can give the Panthers their first winning season since the 1995 squad went 7-4 and captured second place at the conference tourney.
1999 P.S.C. Women's Tennis Outlook
The Panthers return four veterans from last year's team, but it will be a young squad in 1999. There are no seniors and just three juniors, along with a pair of sophomores and four freshmen.
"I'm very excited about this year's team," said Switzer. "It's a much more cohesive unit than last year. Everyone is working together as a team. They're such delightful kids, and they're all working very hard. Everything looks very positive this season."
PSC lost its top two players from last season, including Sarah Schutzendorf, a four-year veteran who is now assisting Switzer on the coaching staff, but the next four players in the line-up are all back. The head coach is pleased with the experience of the players.
"Most of the returning girls played a lot this summer, and they have improved tremendously," said Switzer. "The five newcomers on the team have all played at least four years of tennis, so we're a more experienced team, even though we do not have any seniors. I think we should have a solid team, although you often can't tell much until you start playing matches."
The group of returnees includes the three juniors - team captain Liza Tallarita (Warwick, RI), Jamie Hupper (Merrimack, NH) and Becky Wark (Westbrook, ME) - and sophomore Amy Fritz (Liverpool, NY). Tallarita and Hupper held down the middle of the singles line-up last season, and Wark posted the best singles mark on the team (7-5) in the No. 5 and No. 6 slots. Fritz will be looking for more playing time after seeing limited action last fall.
The newcomers include sophomore Kate Votto (Cheshire, CT) and freshmen Tracy Grosner (Milford, CT), Sarah Kasuba (Stratford, CT), Sadie Roy (Lewiston, ME) and Stacy Wright (Harwich, MA). Switzer says it's too early to tell who will fit what roles in the line-up, singles or doubles.
"The hitting of all the players has been terrific," said Switzer. "They're showing good power from the baseline, and they're very active with good footwork. I'm pleased with the aggressiveness, too. We'll have to see, though. So many kids can hit well in practice, but it's hard to know until you get into a match situation."
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