(Posted September 1, 2005)

Huntingdon, PA - The famous saying "Rome wasn't built in a day," holds a great deal of relevance to the Juniata College women's tennis team. After several challenging seasons that included coaching changes and lots of roster upheaval, the Eagles appear to now be on steady ground and are building the foundation for a team that should be competing for postseason spots in the near future.

Juniata's 2005 roster includes a strong mix of returning players that earned valuable varsity experience the past few seasons along with several promising freshmen who are expected to raise the overall level of play with their arrival. After a 1-9 campaign a season ago, there is reason to believe the Eagles will be far more competitive in 2005.

"This is a whole new team, and we're working on establishing a whole new attitude," explained second-year Head Coach Bobby Pennington. "We're a younger team, but our expectations are actually higher this year. The thing we are concentrating on is being ready to play each match. Our conference is tough, and there are no easy matches, but if we are focused on each opponent we'll have a strong season."

The most experienced Eagle is junior Molly Coursey (Westminster/Hanover) who played at the first singles position last season. She has a pair of career singles wins to her credit, and could be a valuable force this year as she will likely move down to a lower spot in the order. Junior Megan Carpenter (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) played collegiate tennis for the first time last season, and claimed a pair of wins including the deciding match in Juniata's victory over Widener. Sophomore Anita Desai (Cumberland Valley/Mechanicsburg) is Juniata's other returning player, and she posted a team-high three singles triumphs last season. All three players will be counted on to provide leadership and help the development of Juniata's younger players.

"All three of our veterans are very hard workers, and have shown great improvement," Pennington noted. "Now that we have a little deeper team they should enjoy even more success."

The added depth comes from the addition of five newcomers, including four highly-touted freshmen. Ashley Andrews (Altoona/Hollidaysburg), Ye Kyung Kwam (Cumberland Valley/Enola), Sarah Roby (Red Land/Lewisberry) and Caroline Weisser (York Suburban/York) were all strong high school players who should help Juniata become a far more competitive team. Senior Ran Tu (Huntingdon/Huntingdon) also joins the program for the first time in 2005.

"All of these freshmen bring a great love of tennis and a desire to be great players," explained Pennington. "They are helping us create a new winning attitude with our program. These girls want to be a part of turning things around for Juniata tennis."

Pennington has spent the preseason working primarily on establishing strong doubles teams, as with all the new additions the Eagles will need to play a completely different doubles lineups than last season. While focusing on establishing strong doubles teams, the focus has also been to work on mental toughness with highly competitive practices. The coaches believe that work is what will help create a tougher, more competitive team.

"My main goal is for the ladies to come out and compete hard every match," Pennington said. "If we can do that, we should see the kind of improvements that will help keep this program moving in the right direction."

With the new attitude in place and an infusion of new athletes, there is no question that the direction the Juniata women's tennis team is headed is up.


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Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.