Freshman Macie Elliott
Jan. 23, 2014
DALLAS (SMU) -- The Mustangs begin their spring season with a six-match homestand that starts with matches against Stephen F. Austin on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 5 p.m. and against Northwestern State on Sunday, Jan. 26 at noon. For the remainder of the homestand, SMU plays host to Texas Tech (Feb. 1 at 12 p.m.), LSU (Feb. 2 at 12 p.m.), Wichita State (Feb. 6 at 2 p.m.) and Texas A&M Corpus Christi (Feb. 12 at 3 p.m.).
Scouting the Lumberjacks:
SMU and Stephen F Austin last met on Jan. 23, 2010, when the Mustangs defeated the Lumberjacks, 5-1 and were led by then junior Marta Lesniak as she defeated Roxana Enica in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0 at the No. 1 singles position. The Lumberjacks enter this season with a young roster as they have eight student-athletes but only four returners from a year ago. Their top returner from a season ago is senior Lauren Servise as she posted a 14-13 singles record in last season. This is the first match of the spring season for both SMU and Stephen F Austin.
Scouting the Demons:
SMU and Northwestern State last met a season ago on Feb. 11, 2013 when the Mustangs defeated the Demons, 6-1, as SMU took five of the six singles matches; winning in straight sets in each of those singles victories. Now sophomores, Vaszilisza Bulgakova, Hristina Dishkova and Yana Erkeeva all recorded singles victories for the Mustangs. Northwestern State enters this season with an experienced roster as it has five of eight student-athletes returning from a year ago. Its top returner for this season is senior Polina Konop, who posted a 16-5 singles record a season ago. This match will be the second dual meet of the season for each squad.
SMU Ranked 52nd in the ITA:
SMU finished last season ranked 51st in the ITA national rankings and begin this spring ranked 52nd following a highly competitive and successful fall season. The Mustangs experienced a strong 2012-2013 campaign, earning 14 wins with three Mustangs taking home all-conference honors.
Seven Mustang Opponents Ranked in the ITA:
SMU is set to compete against seven opponents who open the season ranked in the ITA. Following the Mustangs opening weekend, the Ponies will face No. 18 Texas Tech (Feb. 1), followed by No. 66 LSU (Feb. 2) on back-to-back days. Other Mustang opponents currently ranked are No. 28 Tulsa (Feb. 15), T-No. 31 and AAC foe Memphis (Feb. 17), No. 30 TCU (Feb. 21), No. 49 Penn State (Mar. 11) and No. 59 USF (Mar. 12).
Recapping The 2013 Fall Tournament Season:
The SMU women's tennis team is had an outstanding fall season in which head coach Kati Gyulai saw every student-athlete record a winning record in singles play. Sophomore Vaszilisza Bulgakova posted the team's best record fall with a 7-3 mark. Bulgakova advanced to at least the round of 16 at each of the three tournaments she competed in last fall including the ITA Texas Regional where Bulgakova won her first three matches which included a victory over No. 98 Kenna Kilgo, a junior from Texas Tech.
Sophomore Hristina Dishkova (8-6) and junior Holly Verner (5-1) each had their best tournament of the fall at Metroplex Mania where they each recorded perfect 3-0 marks, respectively.
In addition, freshman Macie Elliott, who posted a 5-3 mark, recorded her best tournament in the first of her career at the Colorado Invitational where she posted a 2-1 record and fell in the semifinals. Freshman Dasha Sharapova (6-5) had her best finish at the ITA Texas Regional where she finished with a similar 2-1 mark as she reached the round of 32.
Sophomore Yana Erkeeva (6-4) and freshman Anna Kate Anderson (5-4) have also competed for the Mustangs.
In doubles, Gyulai tried many different combinations throughout each tournament. Overall, the Mustang duos combined for a 21-9 record that includes a perfect 9-0 combined record at Metroplex Mania. The combinations of Dishkova/Verner, Bulgakova/Sharapova each posted records of 5-1 while Elliott/Erkeeva posted a mark of 4-1.
SMU's Freshman Class Earned No. 13 Ranking:
The 2013-14 SMU Women's Tennis recruiting class is ranked No. 13 nationally according to TennisRecruting.net; the highest ranking in program history. The highly-touted 2013 signees include Anna Anderson, Macie Elliott, Daria Sharapova and Mary Wright.
Sharapova was ranked No. 238 by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) while winning one ITA event and finishing second in another prior to coming to SMU. Anderson ranked No. 67 nationally out of South Carolina, Elliott was ranked as the top player in Indiana and Wright was the top-ranked player from Arkansas.
Mustangs Return Four Letterwinners:
SMU returns four lettermen on its eight-player roster. Sophomore Hristina Dishkova is the team's top returner as she posted a 25-11 overall record a year ago. In addition to Dishkova, sophomore Vaszilisza Bulgakova recorded an 11-11 overall mark last spring. Bulgakova also posted a 9-8 record in doubles matches with two different partners. Bulgakova was selected to the All-Conference USA third team. Junior Holly Verner and sophomore Yana Erkeeva round out the returners. SMU finished the 2013 season ranked No. 51 after going 14-10 and recording four wins over ranked opponents.
The 2014 SMU women's tennis team and head coach Kati Gyulai seek to capture the first American Athletic Conference Championship as well as a trip to the NCAA Championships.
Gyulai, who enters her third season on the Hilltop, led the Mustangs to a 14-10 overall mark a season ago. Their season came to a close in the semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament. This marked SMU's best finish since it won the C-USA title in 2009.
Start of an Era:
Joining the American Athletic Conference for its inaugural season, the SMU women's tennis team is competing in its fourth conference since the program's inception in 1972. The American consists of 10 teams during its first season, highlighted by four ranked teams including T-No. 31 Memphis, No. 52 SMU, No. 59 USF and No. 70 Louisville.
A Temporary Home:
SMU will play its home matches at the Northwood Club Tennis Courts while the new SMU men's and women's tennis complex is being built. The address for the Northwood Club is 6524 Alpha Rd. Dallas, TX 75240.