MONDAY, JULY 16, 2007
Women's tennis enjoys banner year

July 16, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With two of the top players in the Atlantic Sun Conference entering the season, JU head coach Jarod Camerota's job was clear - strengthen the bottom part of the lineup to support Emese Sulyos and Lena Willi.

The new players meshed with the dynamic duo and created the best team in JU history - racking up 19 wins, the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season and tournament titles en route to the program's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Sulyos and Willi anchored the team at the No. 1 and 2 positions respectively. Sulyos racked up an impressive 21-3 record in singles play and was named A-Sun "Player of the Year" for her efforts.

Not to be overshadowed was the stellar play of Willi. She went 20-4 in singles play, going 19-2 in dual matches - the best record in the A-Sun at the No. 2 position which earned her first team all-conference honors.

"Emese and Lena were the rock of our team all season long," Camerota said. "They knew that for us to be successful that they were going to be the leaders, on and off the court. Their work ethic and determination rubbed off on everyone and really carried our team."

The final four positions in the lineup were held by freshmen who were gaining on the job training throughout the season and passed with flying colors.

Tatiana Soldatova nailed down the No. 3 position and became a force quickly, compiling a 17-4 record and a spot on the A-Sun all-freshman team.

Iva Jaresova had a stellar year at the No. 4 position, going 10-5. Fernanda Carrero and Cristina Paiva-Flor held the No. 5 and 6 positions with varying degrees of success throughout the season.

"I'm really proud of how the new girls came in and played this season," Camerota said. "They came out each day ready to work on their game in an effort to improve as a team for us to reach our goals."

After starting the season by splitting their first six matches, the Dolphins went on a tear - winning 16 straight, with the final three coming in the A-Sun Tournament to give JU an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

"We didn't get off to the start that we had hoped for, but we knew we were a better team than the level we were playing," Camerota said. "Once we got everyone on the same page, we were able to play at a high level and got some momentum that carried us to the championship."