Despite the long trips, some early frustration and injury, BYU women’s tennis coach Lauren Jones-Spencer considers this fall season a success.
One such frustration was losing Callie Craig, a first team All-MWC in singles and doubles player, to in-state rival Utah University. But regardless of the team’s loss, BYU has moved on and accomplished its goals.
“The girls have learned a lot from the tournaments and it has been great preparation to get ready for the regular season,” Jones-Spencer said. “We are a young team and are building. We are paving our own path.”
Every tournament the team has competed in during preseason play was an individual performance, and several tournaments stuck out in the minds of players and coaches.
Beginning the season with the BYU Invitational tournament in Provo, BYU capitalized on its home court advantage and took home the title in singles and doubles.
“The BYU Invitational was a standoff,” junior Aubrey Paul said. “Desiree and I won the doubles tournament and we had an all-Cougar semifinal in singles.”
Senior Megan Price represented BYU by winning the singles tournament and defeating freshman teammate Morgan Anderson.
Outside of winning the singles tournament, a personal highlight for Price was getting to know the new freshmen and seeing how they brought additional strength to the team.
Price said much of the preseason play revolved around seeing what worked well. As a captain, Price’s role was to help the freshmen and other players find their place in their new environment.
“I’m focused on having fun,” she said, “and setting an example for the girls and helping them achieve their potential.”
Two other tournaments where Cougars stood out were at the ITA Mountain Regional Championships in Las Vegas and the Utah Classic in Salt Lake City.
During the ITA Mountain Regional Championships, Anderson and sophomore Desiree Tran both advanced to the third round in the singles bracket.
Anderson and Paul teamed up in doubles, advancing through the first two rounds, and Price matched up with freshman Megan Sheehan-Dizon to advance to the quarterfinals before falling to a team from Wyoming.
In the Utah Invitational, three Cougars advanced to the semifinals of draw B: Paul, Sheehan-Dizon and Tran. Paul faced teammate Sheehan-Dizon, winning the match, 6-3, 6-4. Tran fell to Utah’s Sammie Watson, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. Paul also fell to Watson in the championship match, 7-6, 3-6, 7-6.
After evaluating the team’s performance throughout the preseason tournaments, Jones-Spencer feels the skill the team needs to work on as a whole is footwork.
“Footwork is a big thing,” she said. “It is one of our main goals. If the girls are in the right position they will be able to hit all their shots.”
The women’s tennis team will swing into action again on Feb. 3 against Long Beach State at Rhodes Tennis Center in Long Beach, Calif.