Women’s Tennis to start season at Duke Invitational

Matt Warden

They say actions speak louder than words. With that said, the Longhorns intend to let their rackets do all the talking this season.

The women’s tennis squad comes into the 2012-2013 season returning six athletes from a team that finished No. 10 in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association team poll. Despite a strong year that saw the Longhorns claim a Big 12 title, a loss in the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships leaves some unfinished business for this year.

“We are just excited for play to begin this fall,” head coach Patty Fendick-McCain said. “This team has been training hard, and the ladies are ready to start their first competition.”

Leading the team will be senior Aeriel Ellis, who enters this season as the No. 20 ranked singles player in the country. Ellis earned her second consecutive ITA singles All-America selection last season and has also advanced to the round of 16, improving on their 2011 finish, where they made it to the round of 32 at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship.

Sophomore Lina Padegimaite is coming off of a spectacular freshman campaign that saw her post a 22-5 singles record en route to being named Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Junior Elizabeth Begley posted an impressive 34-7 overall singles record, including a perfect 9-0 mark in conference play last season. Padegimaite and Begley will likely move to the top of the lineup with the departure of Krista Damico.

Sophomore Noel Scott will also look to carry some of the load for the ladies as she is coming off of an impressive freshman season much like her doubles partner Padegimaite. The pair enters this season as the No. 18 ranked duo in the country.

The Longhorns will be one of 16 teams to begin their seasons this weekend at the Duke Fab-Four Invitational.

“There will be several highly ranked players at this Duke tournament,” Fendick-McCain said. “It will be a great opportunity to challenge ourselves as we start off the fall season.”

The tournament has a strong field that features players from Illinois, North Carolina, Alabama, Yale and tournament host Duke, with play beginning Friday afternoon.