FIT Women’s Tennis Team Motivated This Season

By  //  January 30, 2015

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'the girls will certainly surprise a lot of teams'

Florida Tech women’s tennis’s fall season opens on Saturday with matches against Centre College (Ky.) and Florida State College at Jacksonville. (Image by Amanda Stratford Photography)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The old adage states that “practice makes perfect.” Well, if that’s the case then the Florida Tech women’s tennis team should be well on its way to a successful spring campaign.

“The team came back in really good physical condition,” said head coach Bill Macom.

“From the first second of the first practice they’ve been highly energized and motivated. They’re coming along really quickly. They’re doing a really great job as a team. I think they have a lot to prove.”

“We’ve got a lot of starters coming back but then we also have newcomers that will see quite a bit of playing time,” said Macom.

The Panthers will likely rely quite a bit on their talented group of upperclassmen who performed admirably during the fall portion of the schedule.

Natasa Vukovic
Natasa Vukovic

Last season’s singles and doubles wins leader Natasa Vukovic is back and poised to continue with her winning ways.

The junior compiled a 4-2 record in singles play during the fall and registered a 7-4 mark in doubles play, including an impressive 4-1 when teamed with junior Chloe Chanley.

Chanley was also extremely successful during the fall, going a perfect 3-0 in singles and 8-3 in doubles.

Junior Jessica Widmark was another upperclassman who competed well earlier this season. Widmark garnered a 6-2 mark in singles play, while going 5-4 in doubles.

The Stockholm, Sweden native won the “D” group at the Bethune-Cookman hosted Juan Varon Wildcat Invitational.

Katie Close
Katie Close

Senior Katie Close also returns for the Panthers, bringing along a bevy of checks in the win column. Close has recorded 30 singles and 29 doubles victories over her career, both good for 12th all-time at FIT.

Chanley is tied for 13th all-time in singles wins with 28 and holds the 13th position outright in doubles wins, also with 28.

Vukovic is directly behind Chanley in both categories, having totaled 19 singles victories for 15th and 24 doubles wins of 14th. Widmark rounds out the top-15 in doubles wins with 16.

The Panther lineup also features some talented freshmen, led by Kayla Hergott, Erin Egoroff and Mariana Castaneiras. Hergott led all players with eight singles wins during the fall, while taking just four losses.

The Augusta, Georgia native also went 6-4 during doubles play.

Egoroff recorded more doubles wins than any other Panther during the fall season, going 9-6.

The Peach State native also split her 10 singles matches. Castaneiras also had a strong open to her collegiate career, recording records of 6-5 and 4-5 in singles and doubles, respectively.

Macom knows that the team didn’t quite live up to expectations last season but he’s confident that things will change in 2015.

Bill Macom
Bill Macom

“I think everyone was kind of disappointed with our final record last year, even though we had a few injuries,” said Head Coach Bill Macom.

“I think the girls will certainly surprise a lot of teams. We were left out of the national rankings this year and that’s just a benefit for us to use as motivation.”

If the Panthers want to find their way into those ITA rankings, they’re going to have to beat some of the top talent in the country.

Half of the nation’s top-10 ranked teams reside in the Sunshine State Conference.

Barry is ahead of everybody with the No. 1 ranking, while Saint Leo is two spots below in third.

Lynn isn’t far behind with the fifth spot, while Rollins and Florida Southern occupy spots nine and 10, respectively.

FIT opens the season on Saturday, Jan. 31 by hosting Florida State College at Jacksonville at the on-campus courts and Centre College (Ky.) at the Fee Avenue Tennis Courts in Melbourne.

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The SSC schedule gets underway with the No. 1 ranked Buccaneers of Barry on Feb. 14 at DeSoto Park in Satellite Beach.

The regular season will conclude when Florida Southern comes to Brevard County on April 17 at DeSoto Park.

The SSC Tournament is scheduled for April 23-25 in Saint Leo, Florida. The NCAA South Regional Tournament will follow on May 2-4, with the NCAA Team Finals slated for May 13-16.

The location of those two events has yet to be determined.