2011 Women's Tennis Spring Preview

Jan. 19, 2011

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By Heather Lancaster

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Returning from the FSU Quad Tournament last weekend, the UCF women's tennis team is prepared for the upcoming dual-match season.

Head coach Stephanie Nickitas sat down with UCFAthletics.com to help preview the upcoming season, which starts at home Saturday against FAMU at 12 p.m., with the following in-depth Q&A session.

There are a lot of talented teams on the spring schedule, a majority you have had a chance to play in the fall. How will this play in the team's favor?
We have a very well-balanced schedule. We compete against some of the top teams in the country and have been able to see a few of them in the five tournaments that we have already played. I think the fall has helped us grow and mature a lot. We are going to be a lot more ready for them when the spring match rolls around. The team has been putting in a lot of hard work and you can really see the improvements from when we started in September in Miami.

You and your strength coach, Ben Fleming, have been known for your strength and conditioning program. What did you add this year to help improve your players?
We have one of the best all-around programs that combines the right amount of tennis-specific training, strength work and metabolic conditioning. One of the keys to our success is adaptability. We have made changes each semester that continue to make the programs ever better. This spring we are doing shorter and intense interval type workouts in the gym. We have also added a few testing assessments to see where they are individually, as far as quickness, agility, power and strength.

Jenny Frisell being the lone senior on the team has been with you since you started here at UCF. How has she grown over the years to become the player she is today?
Jenny has improved tremendously over the years. One of the biggest things has been her fitness level. She is able to stay out there and battle through and entire match, unlike her freshman year when she was really only able to play one tough set. Jenny is at her best when she is being vocal and energized on the court. The other players look to her for that energy especially when she is out there in singles fighting tough opponents.

Now upperclassmen, how have Taylor Dubins, Alexis Rodriguez and Andrea Yacaman help become leaders on the team? Has Yacaman's off-season surgery affected her playing game?
Each year they have grown in their experience level and they are really starting to see that hard work pays off. They are really forming the culture of this team with the others looking to them for guidance, help and leadership.

It is never easy coming back from knee surgery, but Andrea has been working diligently on her rehab and doing everything she can to get ready to go. She might have to play through some discomfort but she will definitely have an impact on our lineup this season.

Both Jenna Doerfler and Allison Hodges had solid freshmen seasons. What are your expectations for them in their second year with the Knights?
Jenna and Allison had a steep learning curve. They had a lot to learn last year and they really handled it well. You can see the difference in their maturity levels already. We as coaches feel like we can put a little more on their shoulders and expect a little more from them. They are handling that position really well and coming into leaders of their own already.

The two newcomers this season, Courtney Griffith, Josephine Haraldson along with the redshirted Genevieve Lorbergs have transitioned well in the fall. How do you see them helping the team this spring?
All three of them will make a huge contribution to the lineup and to our team's success each in their own way. You have to take some hits before you can grow and I think they realized this in the fall. They are on the right path and they know where they are going. You can already see their improvement from last weekend's results in Tallahassee.

The Knights will face the U.S. Junior National Team for an exhibition match Thursday at 2 p.m. at the UCF Tennis Complex. Admission to all home matches is free.


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