Freshman Mary Wright
Sept. 20, 2013
DALLAS (SMU) -- The 2013-2014 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.
“We are eager to get started. We have a very young team with only two players having played in the fall season before,” said Gyulai. “The newcomers are anxious to gauge the level of play and the returnees are thrilled for the opportunity to defend or regain WTA points.”
Overall, 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. Junior Holly Verner and sophomore Yana Erkeeva round out the returners and expect to have great years.
“We have not just yet identified leaders for our program but several individuals have demonstrated leadership skills on and off the court,” stated Gyulai. “We have a superb group of young women with character and competence and we look forward to a long journey together.”
With only four returners and no seniors, each individual will be responsible for leadership within the group. SMU’s freshman class was ranked the No. 13 recruiting class in the country according to TennisRecruting.net. This marks the highest ranking in program history. The class includes Anna Kate Anderson, Macie Elliott, Dasha Sharapova and Mary Wright.
The schedule for this fall has eight tournaments on the docket, including two $10K Clay Court Championships. The level of competition for all eight tournaments should prepare the Mustangs for the new American Conference in the spring.
“We added the $10K events for our players to regain the WTA points they lost during the spring season,” said Gyulai. “Several of our student-athletes played on clay this past summer, which will help them in this particular case.”
The Mustangs open their 2013 fall schedule at the Amelia Island 10K Championships in Amelia Island, Florida beginning on Monday, September 23.