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Women's Tennis Team Blends Experience With Youth

Coach Robinson watches his team

BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Head coach Jordon Robinson welcomes a good mix of experience and promising newcomers to the courts for the 2019 women's tennis season.

The team features a pair of seniors – Stephanie Barton and Caroline Edwards. Barton has been a mainstay in the singles ladder the past three seasons, playing anywhere from No. 1 through No. 4 in the singles lineup. ". Stephanie has a great all-around game and is very comfortable at the net. She brings a wealth of match experience to our team and is a great leader on and off the court," said Robinson.

Edwards could see action at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles as the season progresses.

Juniors Whitney Kiser and Nicole Shifflett will be back near the top of the singles ladder.  

Kiser has been an All-ODAC selection in each of her first two seasons at the No. 2 singles slot. A year ago, she also earned a spot on the all-state team. This season, she will move into the No. 1 spot on the ladder. "Whitney has accomplished a lot in two years," said Robinson. "She does everything well on the court and is a fierce competitor."

Shifflett will also move up one spot on the ladder, moving into the No. 2 slot this season. "Nicole will be in the heart of our lineup again. She is a solid baseline player and has a great serve," said Robinson.

Sophomore Rachel Crawford returns after a strong first-year for the Eagles. "Rachel had one of the best years of any freshman in conference last year going 18-4 overall for the year," said the Eagles' head coach. "She is a hard worker and great competitor."

Robinson welcomes three newcomers to the team. Freshmen Emily Daigneault and Katie Austin along with sophomore Alexia Will are all expected to see action.

"Emily has a solid foundation and a great upside to her tennis game. She has solid groundstrokes and serves well and will continue to improve with match play," said Robinson.

Will joins the team after recovering from an injury her freshman year, "Alexia has great enthusiasm and is a hard worker," said Robinson. "She is a good baseline player and is comfortable getting to the net."

"Katie is a consistent baseline player who is continuing to improve every practice," said Robinson.

The top of the singles ladder is set with Kiser, Shifflett and Barton in the top three slots. Crawford. Daigneault and Will will slide into slots four through six. "We are still competing in practice to see where they fall. Caroline and Katie are just outside the top 6 but will have chances to earn playing time," Robinson added.

Kiser and Shifflett will pair up to play No. 1 doubles with Barton and Crawford playing at No. 2. Will and Daigneault will start the season at No. 3 white Edwards and Austin also expected to get some playing time at the No. 3 slot.

Bridgewater was picked No. 7 in the preseason poll. Robinson expects the middle of the conference to be extremely competitive.

"The women's side of the ODAC conference will be very competitive," said Robinson "We were picked seventh in the preseason poll, but the voting was close in the 3-7 spots. Hopefully we can continue to improve and build on past experiences to have another successful year."

The Eagles open their season on Monday against St. John Fisher at Hilton Head Island.