2016 women's tennis season previewJanuary 29, 2016
BREVARD, N.C. – Head coach Evan Schreiner has his expectations set high in his first year at the helm of Brevard College’s women’s tennis program.
“We have a unique roster this season,” Schreiner explained. “Heading into our season opener every spot in our rotation is still up for grabs.”
Nirvanna Silva is the top returner from the 2015 season, given her an advantage in the competition for the top slot. Silva, entering her senior campaign, has amassed 13 wins in the middle slots. In the fall the Mexico City, Mexico product played in the top flight for the Tornados in a competition hosted by Belmont Abbey.
“Her experience on the court is going to be useful wherever we put her,” Schreiner said. “She is the team’s only senior and on a team with so many players playing in their first season of collegiate tennis she’s been like a second coach mentoring them.”
Anita Maryskova, the only other returner from last season, highlights a part of what makes the women’s tennis team unique. The junior is one of four girls that are dual-sport athletes as she and Rachael Stanford (women’s soccer), Kristen Rathbun (volleyball) and Sam Miranda (cycling) will all be making appearances on the court this season.
“I think having all these dual-sport athletes gives us an advantage,” explained Schreiner. “With them they are comfortable in the competitive situations and bring different strategies to the court based on the sport they play. While they may not have been able to practice with the team as much in the fall due to their other sport, it helps them to because they came into the spring excited about playing tennis after not having been able to play much in the fall."
Rounding out the 2016 women’s tennis roster are newcomers Claire Dysart, Natalie Green and Katie Hatter. In the fall, Green and Hatter were able to get some collegiate tennis experience with Hatter playing in the second position and Green at the third slot.
“This year we are fortunate enough to have eight women on the team,” Schreiner said. “That gives us flexibility with the rotations and keeps them competitive. Every match we’ll have two players who won’t be playing singles so those in the five and six slot can’t get comfortable there which will but pressure on the players in the third and fourth position and so on.”
The Tornados have a challenging schedule in 2016, with five opponents ranked in the ITA preseason top 50 poll on the docket.
“We have a tough schedule this season,” Schreiner remarked. “Within our conference alone there are four teams that are ranked in the top 50. Outside of league play we will also see some strong opponents when we go to Hilton Head, S.C. for four matches in five days.”
“I think this team has a real chance to surprise people,” Schreiner concluded. “Don’t be shocked if when the conference championship comes you see Brevard in the bracket.”
The 2016 season begins on Sun. Jan. 31 when they take on North Georgia on the road. Fans will have their first chance to see the Tornados in Brevard on Saturday, Feb. 20 when they host Queens at 1:00 p.m.