2011 Big South Freshman of the Year will look to lead the Lady Flames this season.
Liberty's women's tennis team has been voted to finish fourth in the Big South for the 2012 spring season, as the conference announced this afternoon. The annual preseason poll is voted on by the women's head tennis coaches. Winthrop and Coastal Carolina were voted to finish as the conference's top two teams at season's end, in that order.
Liberty received one first-place vote and totaled 54 points in the poll. This is the third-consecutive season the Lady Flames have been projected to finish fourth in the conference.
The Lady Flames are coming off a record season, where the squad tied program-best marks of 15-7 overall and 6-1 in Big South matches, en route to earning a share of its first Big South regular-season title. The team then advanced to the semifinals of the Big South Women's Tennis Championship for the fourth time in program history.
Although the Lady Flames graduated their career singles and doubles wins leader in Jordan Jenkins, along with fellow seniors Hannah Fick and Valeriya Klintsevich, a young nucleus of experienced returners will look to lead this year's charge.
Annisha Domenech, Rebekah Jenkins, Cameron Richard (the Big South Freshman of the Year last season) and Alexandra Sheeran saw considerable court time last year as freshmen. The quartet combined for 46 singles victories in their first collegiate spring season.
Carol Lobel is the sole senior on the roster, while Head Coach Chris Johnson has added freshmen Nicola Wellman and Brittany Yang to the squad.
Defending conference champion Winthrop received seven first-place votes and a total of 79 points to finish as the projected Big South champion for the seventh-consecutive season. Coastal Carolina, picked to finish second, collected one first-place vote, and totaled 63 points. Charleston Southern was a close third, garnering 62 points from the panel.
Trailing Liberty by eight points in fifth place was Campbell (46 points), who returns to the Big South this season. Gardner-Webb (46), UNC Asheville (31), Radford (24) and Presbyterian College (12) complete the preseason poll.
Liberty's women will see their first spring action against Georgetown on Jan. 27. The match is slated for a 3 p.m. start and takes place at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.
Team (first place votes) Total Points 1. Winthrop (7) 79 2. Coastal Carolina (1) 63 3. Charleston Southern 62 4. Liberty (1) 54 5. Campbell 46 6. Gardner-Webb 34 7. UNC Asheville 31 8. Radford 24 9. Presbyterian College 12
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