CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern women's tennis makes their first trip of the 2019 season as the Buccaneers travel to Clemson, S.C. to take on the Clemson Tigers to open the championship season.
It's a familiar opponent for the Bucs and marks the fifth consecutive season CSU has opened the year at the Duckworth Family Tennis Facility. The Bucs have competed at the Duckworth Winter Classic in each of the last four seasons, before taking on the Tigers this season in dual match play this year.
The trip to Clemson sparks the first of five consecutive road matches to start the 2019 regular season. The Buccaneers will continue the season at Furman (Feb. 1), Louisville (Feb. 2), Feb. 15 (at Charlotte), and Feb. 16 (USC Upstate). CSU opens the home portion of the schedule on February 23 against UNC Wilmington.
CSU is coming off a successful fall season with the entire roster gaining valuable experience in their first action under new head coach Anca Dumitrescu.
Dumitrescu joined the Bucs with a strong coaching resume after leading championship teams at Miami (Ohio), Georgia Tech, East Tennessee State, and Florida State. She was a three-time MAC Coach of the Year in her last coaching stop with the RedHawks and looks to continue her success with a program looking to return to the conference championship.
The Bucs return All-Conference singles and doubles selection Madalina Man, as well as seniors Kimberley Koerner, Yana Morar, and Filippa Ericson to a roster that boasts eight players that gained match experience last season. Liz Williams, Nevena Georgieva, and Tiffany Pyritz also join the Bucs on the courts this spring following a challenging fall schedule.
The Bucs posted a 74-11 home record at the Buccaneer Tennis Complex over the last nine seasons under former head coach Mike Baker. CSU will look to continue that stretch of success with a veteran team returning and nine home matches on the slate for 2019.
Ericson and Man both competed among the region's best at the ITA Carolinas Regional in the fall. Ericson bowed out in the Singles Division I consolation bracket in the round of 16s, while Man dropped out during the Women's B Singles semifinal round to wrap up the region's premier match of the fall season.
Pyritz and Tyler Kirk finished the fall season with championships in the Singles Flights at the Furman Duals. Pyritz was the co-Flight 2 singles champion over the two-day event, while Kirk was the co-Flight 5 singles champion.
Koerner and Morar also look to provide leadership in their senior seasons. Koerner returns as CSU's wins leader with nine singles victories, while Morar has been steady at the No. 5 and No. 6 singles positions over the last two years.
Clemson boasts one of the top doubles tandems in the country after seniors Marie-Alexandre Leduc and Fernanda Navarro won the 2018 Oracle ITA Fall National Championships. The duo enter the spring ranked third overall in the country in doubles play.
Leduc is also among the national leaders in singles competition after reaching the 2017 Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in November 2017. She's finished among the top 20 nationally in singles competition.