Tennis aces at Brown

The Boston University women’s tennis team has seen a lot of changes since last year’s injury-stricken squad lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. As with every team entering a new season, this squad is ushering in a brand new slate – complete with new goals, new faces and a clean bill of health. And in last weekend’s Brown Invitational, the Terrier team used its new assets to ace its 2005 fall debut.

The Terriers traveled to nearby Providence, R.I. Oct. 1-2, as Brown University played host to the hidden-dual meet (scored differently than a regular dual meet). With the host Brown Bears taking part along with Dartmouth College and Rutgers University, BU beat all three teams, notching impressive showings both individually and as a team.

“I thought the team did extremely well,” said BU coach Lesley Sheehan, whose team has won 12 straight America East Conference titles. “We won the majority of our matches, the freshmen did very well, we had great results for our first tournament of the year, we had great weather. It was just a fantastic weekend.”

Three BU players went undefeated through the weekend, garnering perfect 6-0 records. Junior Erin Katims and freshmen Cori Lefkowich and Danielle Abraham each won all three of their singles and doubles matches.

“Those three players were particularly impressive,” Sheehan said. “To go undefeated in any tournament, especially as a freshman, is impressive.”

Her opinions were seconded by sophomore Katarina Draganova.

“It went very well,” Draganova said. “We were able to bring most of our freshmen and they got some valuable experience and just did fabulous.”

Senior captain Monica Shepherd turned in a remarkable performance of her own. She went 4-1 on the weekend, participating in both singles and doubles.

“These tournaments are great preparation for the spring season,” Sheehan said. “We play these matches to figure out what our weaknesses are so we can work on them throughout the year.”

Goals are lofty and bars are set high for this team that graduated no seniors last year. And the three freshmen (Lefkowich, Abraham and Yana Sadovskaya) have wasted no time asserting themselves.

“The new freshmen are really amazing,” Draganova said. “They are so open-minded, so willing to learn new things and just great tennis players.”

Sheehan experimented with different doubles pairings all weekend, but never seemed to come up with a bad combination.

“There were definitely a lot of changes as far as doubles partners were concerned,” Draganova said. “But I’m sure coach will figure it out soon enough.”

With this new season, coach and players alike are keeping their fingers crossed that health will not be an issue for the team in 2005-06.

“We had a rough last season with injuries,” Draganova said. “Hopefully we can get most of the team to stay healthy this year.”

Regardless, the team maintains an optimistic attitude for the 2005-06 season. Sheehan and her players look willing to sacrifice and work hard for the good of the team, doing all that it takes to win.

“Coach is really tough on us this year, which really took us by surprise,” Draganova said. “But it’ll be good for us in the long run. I think she really, really believes in us and believes that we can succeed.”

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