By ANDREW KADA
This past Saturday through Monday the UMW women’s tennis team competed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Championships. The ITA Regional tournament featured the top NCAA Division III schools in the Atlantic South region and was hosted at UMW’s Battleground tennis center.
The UMW women had several top performances including Michelle Meadows, who won the consolation championship of the championship singles flight, beating Jackie Burr of Salisbury University in the finals. Also in the championship flight, seventh seeded Courtney Goimarac advanced to the round of 16 after a pair of wins.
Other highlights from the weekend include singles wins from Katie Schafer and Casey Malcolm who both advanced to the round of 32 both with impressive play. Outstanding Eagle performances came from Cassie Bowman, Danielle Velardi, Rachel Covington, and Katharine Yudkin who each captured victories in their singles matches as well.
For doubles matches, Goimarac and Schafer won a pair of matches, while Bowman and Malcolm, Jocelyn Lewis and Meadows, and Covington and Velardi each won matches as well.
UMW women’s tennis has been hard at work since classes have begun with practices six days a week with a full regiment of training lasting roughly two and half hours at every practice.
“We have played inner-squad singles and doubles challenge matches to prepare for tournament matches,” said sophomore Michelle Meadows. Among other things the team has been working on foot speed, conditioning, shot selection and match play according to Head Coach Patrick Catullo.
Joining this year’s roster is a talented flock of Eagles. In addition to five returning players from last year are four new athletes.
“Velardi and Covington have joined the team this year after competing on the club tennis team past years. Yudkin surprised us all with her talent when she came to try out this year and we are very excited about her addition to the team! Bowman was a recruit from last year who will definitely be a great asset to our team. I really look forward to seeing what these girls have to offer to our highly ranked tennis program!” commented sophomore Katie Schafer.
Although the team was highly successful this past weekend, they haven’t forgetten that it requires constant improvement to be the best. “I believe our team had an awesome tournament… Although we put in a lot of effort, I think our team can always learn from our losses and improve for our next challenges,” Schafer said.
“The team without a doubt is capable of remaining one of the best teams in the country…There is great chemistry within the group and everyone is working very hard to make the team better and be in top form for the start of the spring season,” added Catullo.
This spring UMW women’s tennis looks to capture the CAC conference title for the seventh straight year and making a run for the NCAA DIII National title. “We are playing five teams ranked in the top 10 (nationally) this coming spring that I think we are talented enough to beat,” said Schafer.
The team will next be competing in their final Fall tournament this weekend at Old Dominion University in Virginia Beach against a competitive field of exclusively Division I schools.
“We are only going to get more successful from here on out and we hope that everyone at UMW can come out to support us!” Meadows said.