MURFREESBORO, 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 with a short trip to Middle Tennessee on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Adams Tennis Complex.
“We are really excited to start our season this weekend against MTSU,” Lipscomb head coach Jamie Aid said. “The team has a challenging schedule this year, but we believe our program is ready for it as we continue to move forward.”
Coach 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 present.
"We have had a great week and half of practice,” Aid said. “Our expectations of the girls is simple: stay in the moment and be process minded.
“If we can stay process minded as a group, I believe this can be an extremely exciting year for our team. MTSU has a good program so this weekend will allow us to gauge where we are.”
The Lady Bisons finished last season 11-12, but closed the season with four wins in five matches and made a run to the semifinals of the ASUN Tournament.
Reigning ASUN Freshman of the Year Kateryna Popova and fellow First Team All-Conference member Viktoriya Dzyuba return for the Lady Bisons this season, as does Second Team All-Conference honoree Madeleine Brooks, giving Aid one of the most experiences squads in the conference in 2019.
Popova was arguably the best player in the ASUN last season, putting together a 16-2 season in singles action to lead the league in victories while splitting time between the top two spots. She compiled 13 sweeps and a 6-0 mark in ASUN play.
Dzyuba became just the second Lady Bison to ever land first team honors in multiple seasons. The 2017 ASUN Player of the Year got off to a slow start after coming off an injury, but still managed to finish second on the team in wins by going 10-7 in singles play overall and 5-1 in conference between the No. 1 and No. 2 slots.
It was the first time in program history that the Lady Bisons have put multiple players on the All-ASUN First Team as Dzyuba and Popova represented two of the three unanimous selections to the top team.
Brooks brought home ASUN postseason honors for the first time in her career after landing on the All-ASUN Second Team twice - at No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles with Popova.
Other returnees for Lipscomb include Denise Buberl, Kateryna Kandyba, and Thabile Tshatedi, while freshmen Maddox Bandy, Eleanor Chapman, and Liza Diachenko will be making their Purple and Gold debut in the fall.
Middle Tennessee will present a tough challenge for Lipscomb.
The Blue Raiders finished the 2018 season 19-8, which tied the 2015 team for the most wins in a single season since 2000. The team reached the semifinals of the C-USA Championship for the first time in program history after blanking UTSA and upsetting No. 4 seed Florida Atlantic. Recently, sophomore Zani Barnard was selected to compete on the international level with South Africa's Federation Cup team.
Lipscomb fans can follow this weekend’s action by using the live stats links provided HERE.