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SPRING PREVIEW: Juniata women's tennis creates cohesion and strength with a new group

(Posted March 3, 2010)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College women's tennis team makes changes to its 2010 roster but will still be as dominant as last season.

Despite losing top ranked player Amanda Fontana during the fall season due to injury, Juniata will still have a strong, experienced roster that will compete for a Landmark Conference playoff spot.

The tentative lineup for the top four slots for the Eagles is Katie Healy (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt Lebanon), an All-Landmark First Team Singles selection for the 2008-2009 season and winner of 11 straight singles matches during the season. Healy posted a 2008-2009 campaign record of 14-3 in singles and 11-8 in doubles with partner Amanda Fontana in the first position. She finished this past fall season winning all four of her singles matches and three of her four doubles matches.

Maggie Wolenter (Audubon, N.J./ Audubon), the lone senior on the team and a two time All-Landmark Conference Singles selection in her junior and sophomore seasons, continues on this path in her final campaign. In her 2008-2009 season she was named to the Second Team All-Landmark Conference Doubles with her partner Caroline Weisser. Wolenter logged a total record of 14-6 in singles and 10-3 mark in doubles. This fall Wolenter won both her singles matches and two of three doubles matches.

"Our strength is in the doubles game, with the first team consisting of Wolenter and Healy. They will be among the top competitors in the conference," said Head Coach Beth Bleil.

Lauren Perow (Huntingdon, Pa./ Huntingdon Area) brings plenty of experience to the roster and will be looked to for a strong junior campaign. She tallied a singles record of 12-8 in the five spot in her 2008-2009 season. This spring, Perow will most likely play three or four singles.

Stacie Beegle (Schellsburg, Pa./ Chestnut Ridge) has already made an immediate impact in her first season. This fall Beegle saw action in the three, four and five singles position, breaking even on both singles and doubles records. In high school, she was the District 5 Doubles Champion and was named to the Bedford Gazette Tennis All-Stars.

The two remaining spots are still to be determined for the spring season, but Bleil stated that these top four will stay the same through the rest of the 2010 season.

Bleil's focus in preparing for the spring portion of the season has not just been in refining technique and working on match strategy, but has included a little more focus on overall physical preparation for the demands of the season.

"I have put a greater emphasis on conditioning outside of tennis," said Bleil. "The team strives to make better use of its time between practices in Altoona and the limited available gym space. All of this snow is giving us a great opportunity."

The conditioning workouts help Juniata stay competitive in the always difficult Landmark Conference.

"All the teams continue to get better. We must keep working hard to keep up with the growth of the other teams," said Bleil

The competition is close within the Landmark Conference, and Coach Bleil believes that Susquehanna University will be a pivotal match for the 2010 season.

"They [Susquehanna] are a mirror image of us; it's almost like playing ourselves. It is always back and forth between the teams."

The women's tennis team kicks off its spring season Monday, March 8, at 8:00 a.m. versus Olivet on its annual spring break trip to Hilton Head, S.C.

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.