NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The fall is about getting ready for the spring season and the Lipscomb women’s tennis team is making the most of those preparations.
“In the past week our program has seen wins over SEC, Big 10, ACC schools,” Lipscomb coach Jamie Aid said. “We are extremely happy about the direction our program is going and the way our top of the lineup is performing.”
One of the brightest standouts this fall has been sophomore Vika Dzyuba, transfer from Pacific. She is expected to play at No. 1 in singles this spring and has been impressive in both singles and doubles competition.
“Vika had a great week in both singles in doubles,” Aid said. “We did decide to withdraw her Saturday during her match at the Purdue Invite due to overuse this week.
“Dzyuba and Denise Buberl had a good win over Xavier, let up a bit on Illinois which resulted in a loss on day one. Day two they came out and dominated doubles play with a 6-1 win over Maryland and a 6-2 win over Louisville. These two have been entered as a team in ITA regionals in two weeks. This tournament was great for momentum going into regionals.”
Aid is equally excited about the play of Buberl, a freshman. Aid placed her in a challenging spot in the Purdue Invite.
“We had placed her in a higher draw this tournament to allow her to have to compete against a certain level of competition,” Aid said. “Denise is still in the process of committing to her game from start and finish.
“She has been playing great first sets and doing a good job about playing her game. Match experience will help her confidence in closing out matches and handling the pressure of no add scoring. I was very happy with her game and her ability to be coachable and make improvements day to day at Purdue.”
Several players expected to be keys to success in the spring have seen limited or no action this fall.
“It has been a challenge because we haven’t truly been able to see this team play as a unit,” Aid said. “With those injuries it has allowed us to look at other doubles options.”
One of those teams has been Thabile Tshatedi, a sophomore, and freshman Jaclyn Findlay.
“These two had a terrific first fall tournament in Indiana,” Aid said. “The Purdue tournament was bit of a challenge. We are looking forward to working with that doubles team back in Nashville to help them have the confidence we saw at Indiana.
“Tshatedi had another good singles fall tournament. Day one she played great tennis and was able to pull out the win. Day two we were placed in some tighter match situations… again the match experience will greatly help Thabile. Thabile is a terrific athlete and from a mechanical standpoint has some of the better strokes on our team. We are looking forward to seeing her game continue to improve.”
Aid also was pleased with what she saw from Findlay.
“Jackie had a great week of practice this past week,” Aid said. “We have been helping her mechanics especially on her forehand, making that more of a weapon.
“Despite a tough tournament, Jackie is very tenacious and competes. If this team competes week in and week out like this then it will be a great season.”
The final challenge for the Lady Bisons this fall is the ITA Regionals in Murfreesboro. Oct. 20-24. Preparation for this tournament is different than the other tournaments in the fall.
“We are happy to close out our `normal fall schedule’ at Purdue,” Aid said. “We have some items we will be working on as we prepare our girls for ITA regions.
“We are fortunate because this year the ITA’s are hosted in Murfreesboro. It is a huge advantage having to play a tournament of this magnitude and be able to not be on the road. Vika and Denise will be placed in the main draws for singles. Vika and Denise will also be a main draw doubles team. Tshatedi will be in qualifying singles and Findlay will be in flight B singles.”