Women’s tennis serves up success in tournament

Lauren Ciancia

This past weekend the Villanova women’s tennis team began their season by participating in the Martha Thorn Invitational in Morgantown, W. Va. The success of the team showed the ability and potential of the new squad.

The 2003 team is led by seniors Erica Walter, Kelly McAndrew and Jessie Rybacki. In addition, the squad has gained five outstanding freshmen players and a sophomore transfer to add to the current mix of three juniors and one returning sophomore.

“We have great potential with an awesome group of girls that represent Villanova in the best way possible,” co-captain Walter said after the game. “Not only are we playing well, but we’re also having a lot of fun while we do it.”

McAndrew, the other co-captain, expressed similar sentiments, “Our team has lots of confidence this season and we will certainly dominate in singles if everyone continues to perform to their full potential,” McAndrew said.

One freshman standout, Candice Carlin, a singles player out of Moorestown, N.J., comes to Villanova ranked player of the year by the Philadelphia Inquirer. She has become one of the first in years at Villanova to acquire a first singles position as a freshman. She advanced to the Flight A semifinals of the Martha Thorn invitational. Another standout freshman, Leighann Reilly, also advanced to the semis in the Flight B bracket. McAndrew advanced to the consolation finals of Flight B before losing in a tough match, and senior Erica Walter won her second round and quarterfinal matches before losing in the semis of the Flight C bracket.

In doubles, transfer student Melissa Reed and Carlin impressively made it to the semifinals of Flight A Competition as did the Flight B double duo of seniors McAndrew and Jessie Rybacki.

“The tournament went great,” head coach Steve Reiniger said. “I was particularly impressed by our sportsmanship and the way we competed. Candice Carlin’s match was excellent and newcomer Melissa Reed really impressed me by stepping up when it mattered most.”

Reiniger expects great improvements from last year with the six newcomers and talented group of leaders comprised in the junior and senior classes. “Our main focus and area to work on remains doubles, but I am pretty confident we are up to par in the singles department.”

Both Reiniger and senior players Walter and McAndrew were optimistic for positive results against La Salle which was played Thursday and the upcoming home match against Fordham Saturday at 1 p.m.

If the success of the first match and the team spirit that exists between the team members is any reflection of the remainder of this season, it is safe to say the Lady Wildcats will be turning heads this fall.