LANCASTER, Pa. – Returning all but one starter from last year's team that captured the most wins in a season since 1998 and reached the Centennial Conference (CC) postseason for the first time since 2007, this year's Franklin & Marshall women's tennis team looks to have the depth and talent necessary to keep the Diplomats among the CC's elite.
F&M will look to get 2015 off on the right foot when the spring portion of the schedule opens this weekend with a pair of road contests against Christopher Newport on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. and Virginia Wesleyan on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.
To watch the season preview video for the 2015 F&M women's tennis team, click here.
Last season proved to be a bounce-back year for the Diplomats and reigning CC Coach of the Year Sean Kelleher. F&M posted a 13-6, 8-2 CC record, improving its win record for the fourth consecutive season, climbed as high No. 8 in the Atlantic South Region and earned a spot in the CC Semifinals, where it suffered a narrow 5-3 loss to Haverford.
The majority of the Diplomats' lineup remains intact, including the return of six singles players with winning records and the entire No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams. The top of the singles order remains generally unscathed with the only loss being Anya Sahaydachny, who went 1-6 at the No. 2 position.
Along with Caitlin Rummelsburg, Sahaydachny formed the potent No. 1 doubles team that was named to the All-CC First Team and rose as high as No. 14 in the regional rankings with an 11-7 record. Freshman Sara Haas is the only first-year player to join the fold, and is expected to make an impact in the middle of both the singles and doubles lineups.
Dana Sleeper – Sr.
Megan FitzMaurice – Sr.
Caitlin Rummelsburg – So.
Nicole Russo – So.
Sleeper and Fitzmaurice return as the lone seniors on the roster and will serve as the team captains for the 2015 squad. The pair received All-CC Doubles Honorable Mention recognition after holding down the No. 2 spot in the Diplomats' lineup with an 8-9, 4-4 CC record. FitzMaurice also contributed heavily to the singles order, tallying an 11-12 overall record, seeing time at the No. 2-4 spots in the lineup.
Rummelsburg was solid in her first season of competition, pacing the order with a 12-11 overall mark and a 9-9 record from the No. 1 position. Russo also had an impressive freshman campaign for F&M, garnering the CC Rookie of the Year Honor and landing on the CC First Team for singles. Russo went 12-5 on the year, including a 7-1 CC mark and a 6-1 record at No. 3.
Lower lineup players Allysan Breece (13-8, 5-2 CC in 2014), Tara Buchney (11-5, 3-1 CC) and Emily Gruenberg (13-10, 5-3 CC) all played key roles a year ago and are expected to be in the mix this season.
The Road Ahead
Following its pair of opening-weekend matches, F&M welcomes Salisbury on Friday, March 6 at 4:00 p.m. for its first home contest of the spring season. The Diplomats travel down to Orlando, Fla. on March 15-18 to compete in four matches for their spring break trip, before returning to Lancaster to host Muhlenberg for the opening CC matchup of the year on March 21 at 1:00 p.m.
Other key matchups include a rematch of last year's CC Semifinals with Haverford on April 4 at 12:00 p.m. and a non-conference contest against TCNJ on April 19 at 12:00 p.m. The opening round of the CC Playoffs is slated for Wednesday, April 29, while the finals are set for Sunday, May 3.
CC Preseason Poll
1-Johns Hopkins 100 points (10)
2-Franklin & Marshall 83
3-Swarthmore 80 (1)
10-Bryn Mawr 22
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