Women's tennis spring opens season Saturday at UMass

Photo by Tom O'Brien
Photo by Tom O'Brien

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – After posting a perfect 4-0 overall mark in the fall, the Bryant University women's tennis team will look to continue the early success when it opens up its spring slate Saturday at UMass Amherst.

The Bulldogs finished the 2012-13 season with a 4-1 mark against Northeast Conference opponents, earning the 4th overall seed at the NEC Championships in just their first season of Division I postseason eligibility. With a group of talented young freshmen, the Black and Gold are primed for another run at the NEC Title in 2014.

"Our freshman class is a very strong", said head coach Barbara Cilli. "Our lineup, while it may be young, comes packed with talent and loads of enthusiasm."

"The fall season gave us some glimpses of what this team is capable of and we are excited to see how that translates this spring."

The aforementioned freshmen class, highlighted by the dynamic duo of Marion Bouillin (San Diego, Calif) and Ryan Brown (Austin, Texas), did not disappoint in the fall, posting a combined 22-15 singles record during the opening months of the season.

Brown finished the fall with a 6-2 singles mark, going 3-0 in dual matches at no. 2 dingles, while Bouillin established herself as a legitimate no. 1, putting up a 3-0 mark in dual matches in the top spot. Classmates Jenna LaBarre (Smithfield, R.I.) and Briana Leonard (Westford, Mass.) were equally impressive, going 5-5 and 5-3 in singles play, respectively.

Contributing to the already potent Bryant lineup will be senior Stephanie Smyers (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who closed out another strong fall campaign with a 4-1 overall mark, 3-0 at the no. 3 singles spot and sophomore Jovana Hadzi-Tanovic (Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro), who was a perfect 5-0 this fall.

Also likely to add some ever-important depth for the Bulldogs are juniors Devlin-Ann Ammendola (Massapequa, N.Y.) and Rosie Bird (Hamilton, New Zealand), who will both make their season debuts this spring.

"We definitely have our work cut out for us", added Cilli. "We have several tough opponents, including some unfamiliar Ivy League opponents, which will help us reach our ultimate goal of competing for a Northeast Conference Championship come April."

After a long three months, Cilli and the Bulldogs will finally return to the courts opening with a tough match at UMass Amherst, Saturday afternoon at 12:30 p.m.

For all the latest news on the Bryant University women's tennis team, visit BryantBulldogs.com.