NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After an injury-plagued campaign in 2016-17, the Lipscomb women’s tennis team is healthy and ready to start fresh. Head coach Jamie Aid recently unveiled the schedule for both the fall and spring seasons, and she believes her squad will be much improved in 2017-18.
“We dealt with some injuries last year, so it’s been nice to have everyone back and injury-free,” Aid said. “The girls are hungry and ready to go this year.”
The Lady Bisons will begin their season this Saturday with a trip to Cullowhee, N.C. to compete in the Western Carolina Fall Invitational.
Junior Viktoriya Dzyuba returns as the reigning ASUN Player of the Year, which earned her an invite to the Oracle Masters in Malibu, California, beginning Sept. 20. Last season, Dzyuba climbed as high as No. 58 nationally in singles play.
“Vika had a great season last year,” Aid said. “She beat UT’s No. 1 (Sadie Hammond) and went undefeated in conference play. We’re looking for her to do well in California.”
Lipscomb will then compete in the ITA Regionals from Oct. 12-16 in Murfreesboro before wrapping up its fall slate with a trip to Alabama to take part in the Roberta Allison Fall Classic.
“We’ll have at least two girls go on a doubles team to the ITA Regionals, and then we’ll see who we can get into the qualifying rounds of singles play,” Aid said. “For the Alabama tournament, we’ll be taking our top four players.”
Following winter break, the Lady Bisons will begin their spring season by playing host to Western Kentucky on Jan. 13. Lipscomb is slated to have 11 home spring matches, which will be split between the Whitworth Indoor Center and the Hutson-Marsh-Griffith Tennis Center. January and February matches will be held at Whitworth before the action is moved outside and back to Lipscomb’s campus in March.
Highlights of the non-conference schedule include a home match against Belmont (Feb. 9) and trips to Alabama (Jan. 23), Mississippi (Feb. 23) and Tennessee (March 18).
“The schedule is going to be hard,” Aid said. “It’s built to be a ranked schedule, especially with SEC teams like Alabama, Ole Miss and Tennessee. We’re looking to get our players and our team ranked.”
The Lady Bisons begin conference play on March 24 when Kennesaw State comes to Nashville. Other home conference opponents include FGCU (March 29), USC Upstate (April 12) and NJIT (April 14).
“Last year we had the talent to make a run but didn’t due to all the injuries,” Aid said. “If everyone can stay healthy, we’ll have a great chance to make a run at (the ASUN title).”
Roster update: Lipscomb struggled to field a full lineup last season due to various injuries, but that will not be the case in 2017-18. Katerina Kandyba - an ASUN All-Freshman selection two years ago - is back from an ACL injury. Senior Hannah Gamage and sophomore Madeleine Brooks are also fully healthy after missing time last season.
The team also signed its third player from Ukraine in freshman Kateryna Popova. Popova has been ranked in singles play and should push for immediate playing time this fall.
“Every player on our roster is going to have a role,” Aid said. “It’s nice to have girls that can push our top players. No spots are guaranteed.”
For more information on the Lipscomb women’s tennis team, stay tuned to LipscombSports.com and follow the squad on Twitter (@LipscombWTennis).