BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Lehigh women’s tennis team kicks off its spring season on Saturday as the Mountain Hawks head to Philadelphia to face a tough Penn squad at Levy Tennis Pavilion. The 2013 Mountain Hawks have zero seniors on their roster, but head coach Dave Shook returns an experienced group that has gained plenty of experience over the last two seasons.
Shook is in his 17th season as women’s coach and will devote his full attention to the Mountain Hawk women after coaching Lehigh’s men for the last 23 seasons as well. His roster features four seniors, three sophomores and one freshman; a group that will look to improve upon last year’s 5-14 season that ended with a loss to Bucknell in the Patriot League quarterfinals.
Juniors Jenai Bilimoria and Taylor Hampshire will be counted upon to lead Lehigh at the top of the lineup. Bilimoria was a second team All-Patriot League selection a year ago and is coming off a strong fall season, while Hampshire looks to regain her All-League form from her freshman season when she was named second team All-League. Hampshire was limited by injuries last spring and in the fall.
Lehigh’s other two juniors, Kathleen Larkin and Jill Sloand will be counted upon to provide depth in the bottom half of Lehigh’s lineup.
The sophomore class is led by Abby Farrell, who ranked among the Mountain Hawks leaders with eight singles wins and seven doubles wins last season. Molly Brooks and Emily Bruch will be expected to contribute as well. Freshman Ali Kaminetsky from Connecticut gained experience as well, and will compete for playing time right away.
In Saturday’s season opener, Lehigh will be challenged by a Penn team coming off a 7-11 campaign in the ultra-competitive Ivy League. The Quakers boast the top-ranked doubles team in the Northeast in the 14th-ranked tandem of Sol Eskenazi and Sonya Latycheva.
Following the Penn match, Lehigh’s schedule features a slew of early season home matches. The home opener versus Drexel, January 26 at 11 a.m. kicks off a stretch of eight straight matches at the Lewis Tennis Center. The Mountain Hawks’ spring break trip to Florida features matches against Florida Tech and Bethune-Cookman.
Patriot League play begins March 23 when Lehigh faces Holy Cross at West Point, N.Y., which will also be the site of the Patriot League Tournament, April 26-28.
Saturday’s Lehigh-Penn match gets underway at noon from the Levy Tennis Pavilion.