THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - An experienced group of players will return to the courts for a Cal Lutheran women's tennis team that features just seven players, all returning, for the 2017 campaign that is set to get underway in early February.
The seven-woman roster is comprised of two seniors, three juniors and a pair of sophomores and while the depth is lacking the familiarity is aplenty. Everyone saw action last spring and the tight-knit group will continue to improve and compete throughout the course of the season.
Leading the way back to the courts in 2017 is 2016 First Team All-SCIAC Gianna Cupo who played No. 1 singles, earning eight wins individually in her first season at CLU. Additionally, she posted 10 doubles wins at No. 1 with Emily Werman and Christi Kurdys later in the season. Cupo enters the season ranked No. 24 in the West Region as an individual player.
Werman returns for a fourth and final season, having accumulated 25 singles wins during her career. Last year she primarily played at No. 3 with a few matches at No. 2 and finished with 12 wins to lead the squad.
In her first season of collegiate tennis, Kurdys also made an immediate impact, recording 11 wins at No. 3 and 4 singles and teaming up with various teammates to add 10 more doubles points.
Fellow sophomore Sarah Seeman also played a key role in her first year for the Regals. While she saw some action at No. 1 singles, most of her individual playing time came at No. 2 where she tallied a total of 10 victories, adding eight more doubles wins at No. 2.
Senior Shelby Kubota will continue to be a leader as she has been throughout her career. The soon-to-be four-year letter-winner returns to the courts after an injury plagued junior season in which she saw limited play, earning four singles and six doubles victories for the Violet and Gold. Five of the six doubles wins came with partner Annette Sousa who split time between No. 5 and No. 6 singles where she accumulated nine wins as a junior.
Rounding out the roster as the third junior on the squad, Nicole Neumann returns after an undefeated 5-0 season in individual action at No. 6 a year ago. Classmates Neumann and Sousa teamed up for a pair of doubles victories as well.
The first opportunity of the spring for the Regals to regain their rhythm will be a non-conference meeting with Concordia-Irvine before opening Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition on Feb. 17 at Caltech.
As always, CLU will face a challenging schedule from start to finish as the SCIAC continues to be one of the toughest Division III conferences in the country. Cal Lutheran, tabbed as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) No. 40 team entering the season, will suit up against No. 5 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, No. 6 Pomona-Pitzer, No. 15 Mary Washington, No. 19 Redlands and No. 29 Wellesley (Mass.).
When asked what she was most excited about as the season approaches, head coach Vanessa McPadden said, "Seeing the team grow from a young inexperienced team to a mature confident group able to compete with the best in our conference."
Cal Lutheran opens its 2017 season on the road on Saturday, Feb. 4 at Concordia-Irvine with first serve set for 12:00 p.m.
Roster: 2017 Regals
Schedule: 2017 W Tennis
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