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Lady Bucs picked second in A-Sun preseason poll; Stupak tabbed as Player of the Year
Thursday, January 14, 2010
MACON, Ga. (Jan. 14, 2010) - Led by senior Yevgeniya Stuapk's (Kyiv, Ukraine), second straight Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Player of the Year honor the ETSU women's tennis team was picked second in league's preseason poll the conference announced Thursday morning.
The senior captain posted a 13-4 record over five fall tournaments, picking up wins over players from six nationally ranked teams. Overall, Stupak has been one of the most consistent players in the Lady Bucs lineup winning the individual title at the Cissie Leary Invitational in Philadelphia, while placing no worse than the Round of 16 in three national tournaments.
""I am very happy for Yevgeniya," said head coach Steve Brooks. "She had a good fall winning the Cissie Leary Tournament - which had four nationally ranked players in it - and by having success at the All-American and ITA Regional."
The Lady Bucs received 107 total votes, seven fewer than preseason favorite Stetson who came away with 114. North Florida set one spot behind ETSU in third with 99, while USC Upstate picked up 90 votes for fourth. Jacksonville - who ETSU swept last season - rounded out the top five with 70 total votes.
"Stetson has added a very impressive new player to their lineup which was reflected by their No. 1 doubles team having a great regional tournament, "said Brooks. "The results from that tournament put them in the national rankings and helped with the league picking them first. Overall this is a good conference. With Stetson's improved squad and Upstate adding probably the best new player in the conference -who was a WTA veteran that has over three years experience on the Professional Tour - we know this year is going to be a challenge to repeat as champions."
A season ago ETSU posted an 8-1 A-Sun record, while having the top three players in the league standings in conference only match wins.
"As a team I feel that we are the deepest we've been in a long time," said Brooks "We lost a four-time all conference player in Tara Byrne, but we added three players to last year's conference championship lineup in juniors Andra Voinea (Brasov, Romania), Kelly Hotzhausen (Johannesburg, South Africa), and freshman Diana Navrotska (Lviv, Ukraine). Andra has returned to her all-conference form after last year's wrist injury, while Kelly comes over from Tennessee Tech after missing the 2009 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year award by a single vote. Add in Diana, who is going to be factor this year in her first season, with Stupak, junior Tara Sheets (Gate City, Va.) and sophomores Karina Kedzo (Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela), and Paula Jaime (Madrid, Spain), and you begin to see the depth of our lineup."
With the preseason accolades now behind them the Lady Bucs continue to prepare for their upcoming season opener January 23 at Eastern Kentucky.
"The whole key this season is going to be how we play in doubles," said Brooks. "In the past we've struggled at times winning the doubles point in conference action. That being said, we've worked hard this past fall improving in this area. Tara and Diana went unbeaten in their first two fall tournaments, while our other two teams combined were only three points from making a pair of semifinal appearances at the regionals. With Kelly and Yevgeniya being ranked No. 9 in the region and Paula and Karina having beat the No. 8 team by a 8-3 score, I believe that we are definitely heading in the right direction."
Below is a breakdown of the 2010 A-Sun Preseason Poll.
2010 A-Sun Women's Tennis - Preseason Coaches' Poll
Rank School Votes
Tournament Champion: Stetson (7 votes)
Preseason Player of the Year: Yevgeniya Stupak (ETSU)
For more information on the defending A-Sun Regular Season and Tournament champion women's tennis team please visit www.ETSUBucs.com.