Women’s Tennis discovers rhythm at Liberty

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A.J. Neuharth-Keusch

Petra Dajevic is one of the returning seniors who provides leadership to RU women's tennis.

The women’s tennis team team opened their season this weekend at the Liberty Fall Invite Tournament.  The ladies dominated in singles play with three titles and a combined score of 13-5, with success also coming from doubles. The Highlanders received a title and had a combined score of 7-2. Their impressive showing at Liberty was a sigh of relief for the Highs, after coming off a disappointing 6-14 record in the spring. Three of the women on their six-player roster are freshmen and with youth comes high hopes and excitement.
Freshmen Hannah Crawford of the United Kingdom, Meg Napolitano of Virginia and Taylor Newman of Maryland are three freshmen everyone is talking about.
Crawford was ranked 15th in the UK under 18 age group. She won the U18 singles and doubles title and placed fifth in the National College Finals.
Napolitano was the fourth ranked girl in the Class of 2011 in Virginia. She was a four-time MVP winner at her high school in Albemarle and a two-time central Virginia Player of the Year. Newman was 16-0 at the number two spot her junior year in high school. She was a Regional Champion and state runner-up in Maryland her senior year.
Besides the freshmen, the other half of the team is composed of seniors Petra Dajevic, Mia Drobnjak and Sara Tegner.
Dajevic has played most of her Radford tennis at the number one singles and doubles positions. Dajevic owns a 27-11 record at the number one singles spot from 2008-10.
Tegner has not always been at Radford University. Before she was a High, she was an Ashland was a High, she was an Ashland University Eagle. At Ashland, she played at the No. 4 position in singles.
In the Liberty Fall Invite, Drobnjak was impressive, defeating Malin Allgurin of Longwood (6-2, 6-3), Jessica Thaggard of Appalachian State (3-6, 6-4, 10-8) and Megan Douglas of James Madison (6-3, 6-0), and was awarded a singles title. Tegner and Crawford experienced some of the same successes, winning all three of their matches.
In doubles, the freshman duo of Crawford and Napolitano showed considerable skill with their play. To top it off, they defeated JMU (8-1) with ease to be awarded a doubles title.
Two weeks of practice and training remain until the Wake Forest Fall Tournament in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Big South play starts on Feb. 25, 2012 against Presbyterian University. The Big South Tournament starts April 19.