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El Paso, TX — The UTEP women’s tennis team will open the 2014 dual match season under the guidance of new head coach Myriam Sopel on Friday (Jan. 31) morning at 9 a.m. MT against McNeese State in San Antonio, Texas.
“I’m really excited for the first match of the season,” Sopel said. “The girls are doing great at practice and I’m proud of the effort from the players. We’re ready mentally and the girls are hitting the ball well.”
The Miners will continue their opening weekend at Texas State (Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. MT) and back in San Antonio versus new Conference USA foe UTSA (Feb. 2 at 9 a.m. MT).
Sopel, who arrived in the Sun City last week, will inherit a roster of three seniors (Rebeca Calvillo, Marie LeBlond and Gabi Vasquez), two juniors (Davina Meza and Anastasiya Sylenko), one sophomore (Matilda Rose Tench) and one freshman (Daphne Visscher).
All returning seniors set career highs last season as Calvillo won a team-best 23 overall singles matches, LeBlond recorded 15 dual-match singles wins, and Vasquez notched 20 overall singles victories. Sylenko, who started the season late due to injury, contributed with three total wins while Tench tallied eight dual-match singles wins.
Meza, a transfer from Cal State Stanislaus, compiled a 27-10 overall singles record and an 18-17 doubles record during her two seasons in Turlock, Calif. Meza made an immediate impact for the Orange and Blue during the fall season, capturing the Acoma Flight Championship at the 2013 NM State Aggie Invitational. Visscher secured her first taste of division I competition, notching two wins during the fall season.
The Miners finished 12-12 last season, including a 6-0 mark at the El Paso Tennis Club.
McNeese State finished 13-10 in 2013. The Cowboys top returnees include sophomore Klaudia Gawlik (21-0 dual match singles record), junior Diana Pirciu (13-7 record) and senior Anastasia Surkova (12-10 record).
“McNeese State will definitely be a good first match for us,” Sopel added. “They’re returning very good talent.”
Sopel, an Indiana graduate, led Idaho to a 14-12 record in her lone dual-match season as a collegiate head coach. The native of France was tabbed to the same position at UTEP on Jan. 15.
The Miners will travel to Tucson, Ariz. to take on Arizona (Feb. 7), Grand Canyon (Feb. 8) and Sacramento State (Feb. 9) before starting their home slate on Valentines Day against Northern Arizona.
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