ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University women's tennis team will travel to UC Santa Cruz on Saturday for their first team match of the season. The Panthers are entering their first season of postseason-eligible competition in the SCIAC and will draw on a wealth of experience as they seek to improve upon last season's 8-7 record.
When the women open up their season on Saturday, they will be led by senior Genna Ford and sophomore Sophia Duong. Ford tied for the team lead with nine singles victories last season while Duong played the majority of her matches in the No. 1 position.
Transfer students Whitney Hubbell and Luz Jimenez-Vela will add even more experience to a solid core of players from last year's roster. Hubbell comes to Chapman from St. Lawrence University in New York while Jimenez Vela transferred from Fullerton College where she was captain of the squad and played from the No. 1 position.
The well-balanced Panthers team also features two promising freshman who have seen great success at the high school level. Pittsburgh native Andrea Hammer posted a 10-2 record in the No. 2 position her senior year while Monica Spacciapolli won four CIF Championships with her high school team.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in five seasons, the No. 23 ranked Panthers will seek a return to postseason play. In its first-year as a SCIAC member, Chapman fared well against its conference foes, posting a 5-2 record including a 3-0 mark on the road.
The Panthers will rely on their experience early and often as they face a tough schedule that features five matches versus teams ranked nationally in the top 25. Chapman's first true test will come in a matchup vs. No. 22 Brandeis (MA) on Feb. 20. In the tough four-match stretch that begins March 18, the Panthers are scheduled to face three nationally ranked opponents in No. 9 Bowdoin (ME), No. 25 Redlands and No. 8 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
by Ryan Cavinder
Sports Information Assistant