LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall's women's tennis team opens the 2018 spring portion of their schedule this weekend, traveling to Fredericksburg, Va. to face a pair of regionally-ranked teams.
The Diplomats open on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Methodist, who is ranked No. 10 in the Atlantic South region, before battling No. 5 regionally-ranked Mary Washington on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
Last season's deep and talented Diplomat squad made its third Centennial Conference (CC) Semifinal appearance in the last four years, before bowing out with a 5-0 loss to No. 40 Swarthmore and finishing with a 12-5, 8-2 CC record.
A pair of regulars in the singles lineup and three doubles starters were lost to graduation. The doubles duos will have a new look in 2018 as each of the team's starting three partners featured a senior on last year's roster. The success of those new pairings, as well as making up the production of four-time All-CC First Team Singles member Nicole Russo '17 will be a priority.
The 2018 team welcomes back three members who recorded 12 wins or more in the singles lineup while welcoming a four-member freshman class who will battle for time on the court.
Wolters leads the group of returners at the No. 1 position after producing the most singles wins in the Conference with a 15-5, 9-1 CC record last season, becoming just the fourth player in program history to earn CC Player of the Year accolades and the first since Leah Rubin in 2000.
Haas went 5-3 in Centennial singles action, competing solely at the No. 3 spot. A senior captain this year, Haas teamed with C.J. Rummelsburg '17 to earn All-CC Second Team Doubles recognition after the duo produced an 11-4, 7-1 CC record at No. 2.
Rubenstein, also a captain for F&M, was dominant in singles play throughout last season at No. 5, accumulating a 13-3 overall record with a 5-1 mark in CC action. She finished the year with eight wins in her last nine matchups.
Wu provided a strong showing at the ITA Regionals in September, placing first in the Blue 3 Singles flight with four-straight wins that included a pair of straight-set victories. Collins put together a 14-5 singles record during her sophomore season and went 6-3 in CC competition.
The Road Ahead
Following the opening weekend in Fredericksburg, Va., the Diplomats host Salisbury on March 9 in their home opener before traveling to Orlando, Fla. for a slate of matches over Spring Break.
The first CC contest of 2018 takes place on Saturday, March 24 when each team travels to Ursinus for a 1:00 p.m. matchup with the Bears, while the Conference Tournament begins with the First Round on Wednesday, May 2 and concludes with the Semifinals and Championship match on May 5-6.
The Diplomats are picked to finished fourth in the Conference, according to a preseason poll of Centennial coaches. Defending-Champion Johns Hopkins was favorited with eight first-place votes, followed by Swarthmore in second and Haverford in third.
Schofield Takes the Reins
Josh Schofield was named the 17th head coach of the F&M men's and women's tennis programs on August 8 of last year, taking over for nine-year F&M head coach Sean Kelleher who left to pursue a career in the private sector.
Schofield spent the last two seasons as the head men's and women's tennis coach at Division I La Salle following an 11-year stint at Swarthmore, where he served as the assistant men's tennis coach (2003-06, 2008-11), acting head men's tennis coach (2011-12) and associate head men's tennis coach (2012-15).
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