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Women's Tennis to Host No. 20 Georgia Tech for Season Opener

by Logan Hasselbach

ORLANDO – It has been 259 days since the UCF women’s tennis team last stepped on the court to play a dual match. Saturday morning, the Knights, who are receiving votes in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Poll, will No. 20 Georgia Tech at the USTA National Campus at 11 a.m. Limited-edition schedule magnets will be available at the season-opening match.

UCF opened the season at the Miami Spring Invite last weekend in Coral Gables, Florida, where the team collected 12 wins in both singles and doubles competition. Noel Saidenova furthered her singles win streak to seven, a mark that started on the first day of the Big 12 Fall Invite Nov. 9, and Jantje Tilbuerger collected her first ranked win of the calendar year, defeating TCU’s Destinee Martins, who is ranked 58th in the latest ITA singles poll to highlight the event. Olivia Lincer earned her first two doubles wins as a member of the Black and Gold at the tournament, partnering with both Anique Kattenberg and Tilbuerger to defeat TCU and No. 21 Miami.

Lincer and Mihaela Tsoneva joined the Knights in the fall as the second-best recruiting class in the country as ranked by the Tennis Recruiting Network. Lincer has a plethora of playing experience at the highest levels, including professional and junior tennis tournaments. Before arriving at UCF, she was ranked as the No. 1 junior and the No. 8 women’s player in Poland, as well as advancing to the round of 16 at Junior Wimbledon. In the fall, she earned her first professional title, claiming the doubles crown at the W25 Santo Domingo event. Tsoneva has also made a name for herself in the European circuit, leading Bulgaria to the U18 European Championship in 2022 and also being crowned the individual winner of the National Winter Championships in her home country.

Georgia Tech has returned its core roster, including both No. 107 Carol Lee and No. 123 Kylie Bilchev. Lee played on court one for majority of her junior season and went head-to-head with former Knight Marie Mattel in the NCAA Individuals Championship in 2023, advancing to the quarterfinal round before falling to Amelia Rajecki of NC State. Bilchev also earned a bid to the 2023 NCAA Individuals Championship, falling in the first round to Auburn’s Ariana Arseneault. Similar to UCF, the Yellow Jackets also started their season at a spring tournament. GT earned seven wins at the Michigan Invitational, six in doubles and one in singles.

The Knights and the Yellow Jackets grew very familiar with each other throughout the 2023 dual-match season, facing off twice in team competition and once during the NCAA Individuals Championship. GT took the regular and both postseason contests, giving Georgia Tech the advantage in the all-time series, 5-1.