LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall's women's tennis team aims for another year of steady progress as the majority of its key components are back from a squad that made significant strides last spring. The 2012 Diplomats concluded the year with a 7-9 record, falling just short of a berth into the Centennial Conference (CC) postseason with a 4-6 conference mark.
The seven victories were the most in fifth-year head coach Sean Kelleher's tenure at the helm of the program and showed a major improvement over the previous year's one-win campaign. F&M wrapped up last season on a high note, capturing wins in three of its final four matches, and will look to carry the momentum from that strong finish into this year.
Junior Anya Sahaydachny and sophomore Megan FitzMaurice return near the top of the lineup for F&M in 2013. Sahaydachny tallied six singles wins from the No. 1 and No. 2 positions and managed a team-best 10 doubles victories from the top two spots a season ago. FitzMaurice notched five wins while playing at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, and teamed with sophomore Dana Sleeper for a solid 7-8 doubles mark.
Sleeper and senior Julia Fiala also return as core contributors to singles and doubles this spring. Sleeper earned five wins from the middle of the singles order last year, while Fiala posted a team-high nine singles wins, mostly from the No. 4 spot, and also came away with eight victories in doubles at No. 2 and No. 3.
After a two-year absence from the team due to injury issues, former No. 1 Meredith Lackey will bolster the F&M lineup with her return to the court this spring. A team captain, Lackey will provide experience and leadership to the team as one of just two seniors on the roster. Playing primarily as the team's top singles player in 2010, Lackey recorded nine wins and will add another strong piece to the top-six.
Freshman Emily Gruenberg will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact for the Diplomats. Gruenberg is a powerful player with a strong a serve and will look to break into the top-six of the singles lineup.
Sophomore Nina Simic and junior Marissa Rohner will also challenge for playing time in the singles order, while freshman Rachel Weinstein will compete for a spot doubles. Simic tallied an 8-4 mark from the bottom of the singles lineup last spring.
Additional returners who gained some match experience last season include juniors Naomi Smith and Victoria Lussier. Smith earned three wins at No. 3 doubles, while Lussier totaled two singles wins at No. 6.
F&M opens up the 2013 campaign on its annual spring break trip to Florida with a matchup opposite TCNJ on March 10. After its trek down south, F&M will return to Lancaster for its home opener on March 20 against Lebanon Valley, before beginning CC play at home against Muhlenberg on March 23.