Coming off a program-best record last year, women’s tennis is ready to get back to work to not only defend their progress – but exceed it.
The team will compete in six tournaments this fall to test their mettle and get them back into shape ahead of the spring season. GW’s fall slate consists of four return competitors from last season, but head coach Torrie Browning said the familiarity will not translate to easy matches.
“Each year the competition gets even better, so I think it’s going to be a great fall,” Browning said.
Tennis ended the regular season last year with a 13-8 record – the best in program history. The team’s 6-1 record in Atlantic 10 play is the most conference wins they have secured.
The squad entered the A-10 Championship last spring as the No. 2 seed and advanced to the semifinal round before being defeated by No. 6 seed Massachusetts.
With a jam-packed slate this fall, the team is using the tough schedule to push themselves physically and improve individual play ahead of the spring, Browning said.
“We will go into some tournaments a little sore but that’s OK,” she said. “We’re getting ready for the spring which is the most important season.”
The fall schedule is more individual-focused due to the nature of the tournaments, but Browning said that keeping the team-focused mentality is a priority.
The Colonials will compete at five tournaments during back-to-back weekends including the Bedford Cup, UNCW Invite, Blue and Gold Invite and ITA Regionals, which mark the team’s second consecutive appearance at each contest.
With the team currently ranked No. 8 in the ITA Atlantic Region, Browning said she hopes to get more individual players into the mid-October ITA Regionals tournament now that the team has a top-10 ranking.
The FIU Invite and the ITA Oracle Masters are two new additions to the team’s schedule.
The FIU Invite is hosted by the squad that won Conference USA last season and features top-ranked teams like Princeton.
Senior Maria Siopacha will represent GW at the ITA Oracle Masters in Malibu, Calif. and compete against some of the top collegiate tennis players in the region. Browning said the “best player” from each conference was selected to compete at the Masters.
“We always say that we want to get those rings at conference, which is in the spring,” Siopacha said. “So I guess train as hard as we can in the fall so that we can prepare for the spring and keep the team energy with the new players coming in.”
The team is also using the fall to adjust to the absence of former players Kamilla Beisenova and Marie-Louise Decamps, who finished their collegiate careers last season.
Senior Sara Grubac said Decamps was like the team’s “mom” in how she led the team.
“She set really high standards as a senior,” Grubac said. “So we’re trying to live up to that.”
Both Grubac and Siopacha said that they’ve worked hard to step into leadership positions on the team this season.
“The main thing is they are leaders by example,” Browning said. “They’re vocal in some aspects when they need to be but at the end of the day I think their hard work speaks for itself.”
With last season’s performance still fresh, the players said they are ready to prove they deserve their place atop the A-10.
“We didn’t think of ourselves as that good to be ranked as No. 2 in the conference,” Siopacha said. “We learned that we can actually be No. 1 in conference.”
The Colonials kick off their fall season Friday at the Bedford Cup in Baltimore, Md.