JU tennis season begins on Saturday

Jan. 25, 2008

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It is going to be busy a weekend for the JU tennis program.

The women's team, coming off the most successful season in school history, heads to Florida State for their season opener on Saturday ranked 72nd in the country. First serve is set for 1 p.m. They wrap up their weekend by hosting Florida A&M on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

The men's team kicks off its season on Sunday at home against Bethune-Cookman, starting at 1 p.m. at the Keith Watson Family Tennis Complex.

"We are ready to go and get the season underway," said JU head coach Shane Wood. "We are excited about the upcoming year and ready to get some match competition under our belts to see where we are."

Two Dolphins enter the season with long winning streaks from last year still going strong. Senior Lena Willi won her last 15 matches a year ago en route to a 21-2 record and the best mark in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Joining her with a long winning streak entering the season is sophomore Tatiana Soldatova. As a freshman, Soldatova racked up a 17-7 record with eight straight wins to end the season.

"The women have a lot of talent throughout the lineup and it will be interesting to see how we perform," Wood said. "It's nice to have a ranking, but we've got to perform well to stay in the rankings."

The men's team looks to pick up where it left off last season. The Dolphins went 14-7, improving off of a one-win season the year prior. JU was peaking at the right time as well, ending the year by winning five of its last six matches.

JU returns a wealth of talent in Jordi Ballester, Francisco Riveroll, Victor Vaz, Vinicius Craviero and Marcos Oliveira. Loaded with confidence from last year's late season run, the Dolphins feel confident entering the season.

"This group has been really good to work with so far and have a lot of ability," Wood said. "We've got a lot of work to do, but I'm excited about the future of this team."