ORANGE, Calif. – After a resurgent 2018 season, the Chapman University women's tennis team enters the 2019 campaign with its sights set on continuing its rise up the SCIAC standings and national rankings. The Panthers return to the Lastinger Tennis Center courts with a still young but talented squad.
The Panthers enter the 2019 season ranked No. 33 in the NCAA Division III after their all freshmen lineup led the Panthers to a No. 32 ranking to end 2018. The Panthers took fourth in the SCIAC – one of the most competitive conferences in the nation – last year and are picked to finish in the same position this year in a poll of the conference coaches.
Last year's all rookie lineup is a year older as sophomores comprise nine of the 14 roster spots, including SCIAC Newcomer of the Year Alisa Ogranovich. Head coach Will Marino welcomes two freshman to the roster, joining two juniors and senior Nicole Fouts.
Four of the six freshmen in Chapman's starting lineup at the end of last year return to the roster this year. Ogranovich spent the majority of the season at the top of the lineup, going 7-5 in No. 1 matches and posted a 12-7 dual record overall as a freshman. Sophomore Madison Ross played all three of the top positions in the singles lineup but spent the majority of the year at No. 3 where she went 6-3 in dual matches. She also played seven matches on the No. 2 court, going 2-5.
Sophomores Vasilisa Trofimova and Anna Kaplan also return and are slotted to move up to the middle of the lineup after successful freshman seasons. Kaplan was 10-8 for the year but put together an impressive 8-3 run on the No. 6 court. Trofimova went 6-6 at No. 5 last year with three of her eight dual match wins coming in SCIAC matches.
Fouts will look to make an impact in her senior season as the Panthers hunt for a return to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament and beyond.
One of the Panthers top doubles teams can pair back up for another strong. Ross and Kaplan went 11-6 when teamed up last year, including a 10-4 mark in the No. 3 spot in the doubles lineup and a 5-2 record in SCIAC matches.
The road through the SCIAC is never an easy one as the Panthers are one of four teams to be ranked in the preseason national rankings, including defending national champion Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Chapman's schedule is loaded with talented teams, including 10 teams that appear in the preseason national poll, as well as two NCAA Division I opponents.
Chapman opens the season with a Division I foe on Saturday at 1 p.m. as the Panthers host Idaho State. They take a trip to UC Santa Cruz for three matches, including two against nationally-ranked opponents, later this month before returning home for nine home matches in March. The SCIAC season begins on Mar. 30 when Chapman hosts Whittier.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director