LANCASTER, Pa. – The Ursinus College women's tennis team was picked seventh in the Centennial Conference preseason poll, released Tuesday morning by the league office.
Ten-time defending champion Johns Hopkins topped the projections with 100 points and ten first-place votes, while Washington College came in second with 85 points. Swarthmore collected the remaining first-place vote and was right behind with 84 points, followed by Franklin & Marshall (77), Dickinson (59), Haverford (52), Ursinus (43), Gettysburg (41), Muhlenberg (31), Bryn Mawr (21), and McDaniel (12).
The Bears bring back four of their top six players, including a pair of all-conference honorees, from last year's team that finished 11-7 overall (4-6 CC) and retained an ITA regional ranking for much of the season. Ursinus notched its first victory over Haverford since 1983 and even took ten-time defending champion Johns Hopkins down to the wire in a 5-4 defeat.
Junior Aileen Bevard tops the singles lineup. Bevard compiled a school-record 17 singles wins against only three losses on the way to second team All-CC recognition, going 8-2 in league matches. A co-captain alongside seniors Robin Alsher and Christine Palazzolo, Bevard already ranks third in program history with 30 singles wins and is tied – along with classmate Ariel Danziger – for third all-time with 51 total victories.
Freshman Caitlyn Sorelle and junior Ashley Nguyen, an honorable mention all-conference singles honoree two years ago, join Bevard in the Bears' top three. Bevard and Nguyen, 10-8 in dual matches last season, are back at number one doubles, while Sorelle will team with Danziger at number two. Sorelle and Danziger went 4-0 and captured the Blue 2 doubles championship at the ITA Regional Championships in the fall.
Danziger, who paired with BreAnna Bashaw to set a school record with 17 doubles wins and collect a second team All-CC nod last season, will play fourth singles after going 11-6 there, with Alsher to take over the fifth spot and Palazzolo rounding out the lineup. Palazzolo was 7-9 between fifth and sixth singles last year and was a standout at third doubles, going 17-3 with S.J. Seabra to match Bevard and Danziger's program benchmark. Palazzolo will play with Alsher for the first time at number three doubles.
Ursinus, which was 40-14 (.741) in doubles dual matches last season, figures to be strong there again. Danziger (27), Palazzolo (25), Bevard (21), and Nguyen (21) all reside within the top 10 in school history in doubles triumphs.
The Bears, who won their lone dual match of the fall against Eastern, open spring play in Florida opposite Piedmont on Monday, March 6.