Women's tennis to open season with matches at Middle Tennessee, Alabama
Friday, January 19, 2018
By Russell Vannozzi
Women's tennis to open season with matches at Middle Tennessee, Alabama

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The wait is finally over for the Lipscomb women’s tennis team.

Nearly three months after competing in the June Stewart Invitational at Vanderbilt, the Lady Bisons will be back in action to open their spring schedule this weekend. 

First up is a short trip to Middle Tennessee on Saturday morning at 10 a.m., followed by a visit to Alabama on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.

Coach Jamie Aid said her team has been diligent in their preparation over the last two weeks and is ready for the challenges that the Blue Raiders and Crimson Tide present.

“I think everybody is pretty fired up and ready to play someone besides each other,” Aid said.

Freshman Kateryna Popova is slated for the No. 1 spot as reigning ASUN Player of the Year Viktoriya Dzyuba recovers from an injury. Dzyuba is expected to return to action in a few weeks.

“Kate had a great fall semester and she’s been playing well the last few weeks,” Aid said. “She’ll go in as the No. 1 this weekend and I feel like she’s ready for that role.”

The Lady Bisons will have the luxury of filling out a full lineup after several injuries kept the team from doing so at times last season. In addition to Popova, senior Hannah Gamage, junior Thabile Tshatedi, and sophomores Madeleine Brooks, Denise Buberl and Kateryna Kandyba are all expected to see action this weekend.

“Last year we struggled with injuries and were a team of underclassmen,” Aid said. “This year we have more experience and better health, which makes things easier.”

Both Middle Tennessee and Alabama will poise significant challenges for Lipscomb. The Blue Raiders took last year’s meeting by a score of 5-2, while Alabama was ranked as high as No. 33 in the nation in 2017.

“We’re hitting the ground running with two great teams,” Aid said. “We have a really tough non-conference schedule and we hope that will set us up well for ASUN play.”

Aid said that team’s doubles pairings are still to be determined, and that the first few weeks of matches will allow the coaching staff to find pairings that have chemistry.

“We tell our girls to be ready to play with anybody,” Aid said.  “We broke up the undefeated (Dzyuba/Buberl) pairing and pulled out the doubles point in the conference tournament last year. We’ll mix around the doubles (pairings) until we find out what works.”

Lipscomb fans can follow this weekend’s action by using the live stats links provided above, and updates will also be provided on the team’s Twitter page (@LipscombWTennis). Visit LipscombSports.com/wtennis on Sunday evening for a full rundown of both matches.