BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Under new leadership this season, the Bridgewater Eagles women's tennis team will look to build on a successful 2011 spring season with young, but experienced players when it takes to the court on Feb. 18 at Washington and Lee.
Bridgewater returns a trio of freshmen who all earned All-ODAC honors a season ago after propelling the Eagles to a 15-4 overall record and a berth in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) semifinals.
The Eagles are also under new leadership as head coach Marty Perry takes the reins of a Bridgewater team that rolled up an 8-2 record last season in conference matches.
Top flight singles player Katie Gordon returns to the mix for the Eagles after posting a 12-7 record last spring from the No. 1 post in singles play. Gordon was a second-team All-ODAC selection in singles action, finishing the season with a combined mark of 13-9.
"Katie Gordon brings a lot of talent and ability to the table. She has good control off both sides and can penetrate with her forehand. Her ability to dictate off the ground and out of the air make her a very versatile player. I'm looking forward to coaching her this season," said Perry.
Sophomore Katy Bergey also returns to the mix after notching a 14-4 dual meet record last season. Bergey, a Harrisonburg, Va. product, was the second team All-ODAC choice from her No. 2 position on the ladder where she went 7-3 last season in conference affairs.
"I feel that Katy Bergey has two of the most prized attributes that I look for in players; she is a very good competitor and a great athlete. She has good control off both sides and her lefty serve is a weapon. She has a great attitude and is a total team player," commented Perry.
Gordon and Bergey also teamed up to post a team-best 17-6 record in top flight doubles action.
Joining Gordon and Bergey in the sophomore class is Brittany Wilson who turned in an outstanding rookie season in 2011, leading the Eagles with 18 wins on the year. Wilson turned in a school record 13-match winning streak in the middle of the season while her 18 wins on the year also set a new school standard. The Lynchburg, Va. native went a perfect 7-0 on the season at the number four spot, and was 4-1 at number five where she earned second team All-Conference honors.
"Brittany has really impressed me this season. She battled through a wrist injury all fall and is starting the spring healthy. Her commitment level is high and she brings a lot of positives both on and off the court. She is a good ball striker and has good control off both sides. She is also a good doubles player," said Perry.
Aside from Perry's returning all-conference performers, the first-year head coach returns a talented pair of seniors in Emily Schweitzer and Ally McConaughy. The senior duo saw limited singles action a season ago and turned in a 10-11 record in doubles matches. In 2010, the tandem teamed up to set a school record in doubles wins with 17 victories. Senior Brittany Floyd also joins the squad this season as a senior newcomer.
"Both Ally and Emily bring a great deal of experience to the team. They are both very committed and have been working hard to ensure a good senior year. Brittany Floyd will be joining the team this season as a senior. She has turned out to be a very hard worker and is set on making this year count for her. She is constantly looking to come in individually to get her game back to where it was a few years ago. She pushes girls in practice and has been a very positive addition to the team," said Perry.
Junior Olivia Stone and Rita Murphy also return after both players saw time on the courts last season. Murphy saw action in just one match on the year, posting a loss, while Stone saw significant time at No. 6 singles, posting an 8-2 record.
"Both Olivia and Rita are two of the hardest workers on the team. Both look to dictate play in singles and both are very good competitors. Rita was abroad in the fall so I have not seen her in action yet. Olivia had a strong fall season and has a tremendous upside. She hits a clean ball and her forehand is a weapon," Perry noted.
One freshman joins the fray in 2012 in Garden State native Marla O'Bryan. The Brookside, N.J. product comes to Bridgewater after a solid career at West Morris Mendham High School. O'Bryan helped lead Mendham to the Morris County Championship, winning her flight.
"Marla has been a great addition to the team. She is laid back yet competes hard. Marla is one of the hardest working players in the program and brings an energy to practice that I haven't figured out yet. She is solid off the ground on both sides and her serve is a weapon. She moves exceptionally well at the net and should develop into a good college doubles player. I'm looking forward to coaching her for four years," said perry
Bridgewater will have to tangle with the traditional conference powers in 2012. The ODAC has been controlled for the last two decades by Washington and Lee, with Hollins traditionally holding down the number two spot in the conference. Perry, a three-time ITA Coach of the Year, feels that the Eagles are poised to take a run at the top two spots in the ODAC.
"I am very excited to be coaching in the ODAC. Its' women's tennis programs are very competitive and should foster great competition from top to bottom. From what I saw in the fall, the conference is made up of poised teams and experienced coaches. I'm very proud to lead Bridgewater in such a tradition rich conference such as the ODAC and am looking forward to experiencing my first traditional season this spring," said Perry.
The Eagles open the 2012 spring season on February 18 against the defending champion Generals of Washington and Lee. The home portion of the slate opens on March 15 against Hollins.