Despite a 3-0 start last year, Kansas University’s women’s tennis team struggled throughout the 2008-2009 season against ranked opponents and fierce Big 12 competition. The Jayhawks ended their season with a 10-13 overall record and a 4-8 record in the Big 12.
“I thought we finished pretty strong,” coach Amy Hall-Holt said. “Even though we didn’t finish the way we wanted to … a lot of girls stepped up and competed hard.”
The play of No. 1 doubles team Edina Horvath and Ekaterina Morozova, was one bright spot of the season. The duo finished ranked No. 87 and led the team with an 11-4 overall record.
Those wins included seven in Big 12 competition, enough to earn the team a tie for first pace in the Big 12 and a spot on the All-Big 12 doubles team. Horvath graduated last year, but sophomore-to-be Morozova, who also competed in the No. 1 singles spot for the first half of the season, will be back this year.
“(Morozova) got a lot of tournament experience coming in as a freshman,” Hall-Holt said. “We’re very excited about her. She really stepped up as a freshman, and we’re looking forward to her sophomore year with her maturing and playing more competitive tennis.”
Erin Wilbert also had a strong freshman season for the Jayhawks, earning a team-high 14 wins in the No. 6 singles spot. Junior Maria Martinez turned in a 7-5 Big 12 record and finished the 2009 season with an impressive overall record of 20-13.
“Erin has a style of her own,” Hall-Holt said. “She’s a hard worker and a hard competitor. She had the best results on the team as a freshman. We were really impressed with how she played, and we expect good things from her. Maria, as a freshman, didn’t get to play as much. She played in the No. 7 singles spot so she had to be ready to go at all times, but she didn’t get a lot of playing. To play the way she did her sophomore year, we’re very pleased.”
Even with three successful returning veterans, with the loss of last year’s senior leaders Horvath and Yuliana Svistun, Hall-Holt knows she will lead a young team into the 2009-2010 season.
“We have two or three freshman coming in and then two top sophomores,” she said. “We’re still pretty young. Five of our top six will likely be freshman and sophomores.”
But Hall-Holt is optimistic about the impact the new recruits will make on the team.
“We are definitely going to be a lot stronger,” she said.