PLYMOUTH, N.H. - With an increased roster size and improvement throughout the line-up, the Plymouth State College women's tennis team is gearing up for a solid season in 2000.
The Panthers, led by third-year head coach Judy Switzer, open the 10-match regular season campaign this Saturday (Sept. 9) at Colby-Sawyer College (1 p.m.). After road matches at St. Michael's on Tuesday (Sept. 12) and Salem State on Monday (Sept. 18), the home opener is Wednesday (Sept. 20) vs. Green Mountain College at the P.E. Center Courts. The annual Little East Conference Tournament is slated for Oct. 14-15 at Rhode Island College in Providence.
With a young team that included no seniors, last year's Panther squad struggled to a 2-10 overall record and a fifth place in the LEC Tournament. Switzer is remaining cautiously optimistic this year, but thinks this could be a turnaround season.
"I don't want to jump the gun, but I'm really excited," said Switzer. "We've got 12 players, which is the largest in many years, so we're starting off on the right foot. We have some excellent new players to add to the young players who were pretty good last year, and they have matured."
PSC is looking for its first winning season since 1995. 2000 P.S.C. Women's Tennis Outlook
Switzer has six returning players and six newcomers, including a transfer, giving her more depth than she has had in her three seasons. There will also be more competition for spots in the starting line-up.
"The returning players have been playing all summer and are all improved," said Switzer. "The newcomers are all experienced players in high school and at the club level. Colby-Sawyer will be a tough test for us to open up with, and it will get us adjusted to college competition."
Switzer says look for the top four slots in the singles line-up to be filled by sophomores Sarah Kasuba (Stratford, Conn.) and Sadie Roy (Lewiston, Maine), junior Becky Stanley (Peterborough, NH), and freshman Katie Olsen (Reading, Mass.). Roy played #1 and Kasuba #2 most of last season, and have gained valuable college experience. Stanley is a transfer from Keene State, which doesn't sponsor a tennis team, and Olsen is a strong player, the top of a freshman class.
"Sarah has played a lot this summer and really improved her game," said Switzer. "I have confidence in all of those players, wherever they end up playing."
The remaining two spots in the starting singles line-up will be battled for by sophomore Stacy Wright (Harwich, Mass.), freshman Cally Thorup (Cumberland, Maine), senior Jamie Hupper (Merrimack, NH), and freshman Molly Barnaby (Portsmouth, NH). The rest of the team includes senior co-captains Becky Wark (Westbrook, Maine) and classmate Liza Tallarita (Warwick, RI), junior Renee Rhibeault (Bowdoinham, Maine) and freshman Amy Harrington (Goffstown, NH).
Switzer says the doubles line-up could include Kasuba and Stanley in the #1 position, Roy and Olsen at #2, and either Wright and Thorup or Hupper and Barnaby at #3.
"I think this group will be more of a team than any I've coached," said Switzer. "They're very supportive of each other, and I like that. I think that will help us this season."