Women’s Tennis set to face Gardner-Webb in Big South Tournament

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Larry White
lwhite6@radford.edu

The Radford Women’s Tennis team finished the regular season with a bang by defeating University of North Carolina-Asheville, 7-0. The Highlanders have been extremely hot as of late as they have won 10 of their last 12 matches to improve to a 16-6 overall record.
The doubles matches have really been a strong part of the Highlander’s success this season. The freshman duo of Hannah Crawford and Meg Napolitano has really emerged into some of the double’s tandems in the conference.
They finished the season with an awesome mark of 18-4 overall on the season after a close win, 8-6 on Court No. 2 against UNC Asheville. Taylor Newman and Mia Drobnjak trailed 7-1, but they battled back to win 9-7 which helped the Highlanders eventually sweep UNCA.
The Highlanders dominated UNCA in singles competition. They won all six of their matches as well as winning four in straight sets. Freshman Taylor Newman has made an impact this year, in only her first year of competing at the college level. She concluded the season by winning two straight matches against UNCA, 6-0 on Court No. 5 in Big South Conference play.
With the regular season over, the Highlanders now prepare for the conference tournament. Freshman Meg Napolitano from Charlottesville, Virginia led the Highlanders with an outstanding record of 21-7 in singles matches. Napolitano really caught her stride as she went 19-3 to finish the spring.  She also went 7-1 in Big South Conference competition this season. Freshman Gemma Valls also had a great freshman campaign as she finished 16-6 this season.
Doubles competition was really the team’s strong point this season as Crawford and Napolitano finished the season 19-8 overall and an outstanding 18-4 in the spring. Dajevic and Valls also held their own as a dominate tandem by going 14-4 this season.
The Highlanders had many signature wins against tough competition this season as they defeated University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Longwood University, and more. The Highlanders  caught fire several times this season as they went on five and six game winning streaks during different points in the season.
Many of the Highlanders also were rewarded for their great play. Hannah Crawford was named Freshman of the Week on quite a few occasions while Mia Drobnjak was selected as the Big South Player of the Week.
Head Coach Bruce Harrison has put his team into great position be successful this season as he has recruited nationally ranked players from various countries to help build the program into a Big South powerhouse.
This year’s team is composed of four freshmen and three seniors. All of the freshman have stepped up and made an impact at the Division I level. The seniors have really taken it upon themselves to help each of the younger players improve every day in practice by pushing them to their full potential on a daily basis.
The Highlanders have both experience and youth that makes them very balanced team in all aspects including singles and doubles competition. The Highlanders will put their hard work to the test as they get almost two weeks of rest and then head to familiar territory as they travel to UNC Asheville for the 2012 Big South Conference championship trophy.