MARTIN, Tenn. – Coming off a successful fall that followed the program’s sixth Ohio Valley Conference championship, expectations are high for the University of Tennessee at Martin 2017 spring tennis season.
Seven-time OVC Coach of the Year Dennis Taylor oversees a veteran roster that includes a star-studded senior class in Sarah Candeloro, Hitomi Naito and Burcu Tari. That trio has each generated 100 career victories apiece and has combined for six All-OVC accolades between them.
Candeloro is coming off a red-hot fall which saw her go 14-2 in singles play and 8-2 in doubles. The Dover, Del. native played at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles all of last season on her way to earning All-OVC first team accolades.
A native of Tokyo, Japan, Naito fought through injuries this fall but enters the spring at full strength. She will look to join Amy Goff as just the second player in program history to tally All-OVC status in all four seasons in 2017.
Tari went 11-3 in singles this fall while adding eight more wins in doubles competition. The Istanbul, Turkey native owns a 21-8 career record in singles play against conference foes.
Elina Geut is the only junior on the roster, as she is coming off a combined 13-4 record this fall. Sophomore Asel Jumamukhambetova posted a 10-3 singles mark this fall after winning 18 combined decisions as a freshman in 2015-16. Fellow sophomore Jemima Potter piled up a team-high 10 doubles wins this fall after establishing a new freshman program record with 26 wins last season.
Sophomore Andrea Plantada Cortes showed promise this fall with 12 total victories while newcomer Olha Burak went 12-4 in her first Division-I action this fall after a successful freshman campaign at the University of Central Oklahoma.
Those eight Skyhawks officially kick off the 2017 season this Saturday, Jan. 21 at Louisville, taking place at the Bass-Rudd Tennis Center at 10 a.m. CST. UT Martin begins OVC play on March 18 before holding its home opener on March 24 against conference foe Belmont.