The women’s tennis team kicked off the sea- son this past Friday with a match against Furman University. Following a 6-1 loss, the team showed promise on Sunday afternoon as they secured their first win of the season against Gardner-Webb, 4-3.
Coming off their first season in the Atlantic 10, the team will look to improve on a strong pre- liminary season in the league. Last year the team finished fourth in the conference while maintain- ing an overall 12-10 record on the season. Head coach Sara Anundsen, who replaced the legend- ary Caroline Price last year, will seek improved results after a successful first year at Davidson.
Both veterans and newcomers will help the cause this season. The team returns all six starters from last season, including A-10 standouts Laina Cummer ’16, Anna Catharine Fester ’18 and Ava Todd ’18. Courtney McCray ’16, Jenna Brun- ner ’17 and Sarah Stein ’17 will provide depth and veteran leadership behind them. The strong sophomore class will benefit from the growth of Ally Sexton ’18 and Cassidy Shell ’18. Freshmen Gabrielle Centenari ’19 from Baltimore, MD and Megan Scholvinck ’19 from Mill Valley, CA ap- pear ready to play at high levels.
“All the way down the line everyone is such a great tennis player,” Stein said. “This depth is really going to help us succeed. Having more ex- perience being in the A-10, we know what the competition is like and we know what to expect in the Conference tournament.” In singles play Davidson will look for their
fourth consecutive season with 50 or more wins in singles matches. They will be led by Cummer, who played at number one a year ago. She boasts 27 total career singles wins and earned All- A-10 Second Team honors a year ago. Todd, who went a perfect 5-0 in A-10 play last year in a stellar freshman campaign, has potential to be a first- team all-conference star.
The doubles teams for the Wildcats finished with a 38-25 record last year and return in full hoping for even better results with a year of ex- perience playing together. Brunner and Cum- mer will claim the number one doubles position, where they finished 9-10 last season with two wins in Atlantic 10 play. Feaster and Sexton will play in the number two position with Stein and Todd playing in the third position.
One reason Sexton is optimistic about im- provement is because of the team’s investment in HUMANeX Ventures, which involves testing to help determine non-physical strengths and weak- nesses of each athlete. “The program has really
helped each member of the team discover their role and how to best contribute,” Sexton said. This program should help to create a more cohesive unit where individual strengths are maximized.
The Atlantic 10 tournament will be held April 21-24 in Ohio. Davidson will look to spoil the tournament for VCU and Richmond, two programs that have consistently been at the top of the conference. VCU seeks its third straight championship after winning in both 2015 and 2014. Richmond will want to recapture the title after winning nine out of 11 championships from 2002 to 2013.
The team will continue their season on Feb- ruary 6 when they face off against the University of South Carolina-Upstate. They will continue with matches against Western Carolina, East Carolina, and Wingate before entering Atlantic 10 play against George Mason on February 27.