CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Campbell women's tennis team received 67 votes and a fourth place finish in the Big South Preseason Poll announced by the conference office on Monday. The league's coaches voted in the poll.
Winthrop, who earned nine first-place votes, is the preseason-favorite followed by Charleston Southern and Coastal Carolina. After the Camels in fourth, Liberty, Radford, Gardner-Webb, UNC Asheville, Longwood and Presbyterian complete the poll.
In 2012, the Camels posted an 11-8 overall and 2-6 Big South record as they moved back the conference after playing 16 years in the A-Sun.
Campbell saw seniors Anais Gomar and Borislava Nikolova graduate following the campaign. There are five freshmen in Caroline Lindsey (Reidsville, N.C.) Ana Maria Ortiz (Betera, Spain), Kirsten Renz (Greensboro, N.C.), Ewa Telenga (Glice, Poland) and Lauren Vaughn (Arden, N.C.) entering the spring slate.
"All freshman come into our program and have an adjustment phase," said head coach David Johnson. "Some are able to adjust a little more quickly, whether it is academically or athletically, than others. Certainly, it helps our freshman that they have the opportunity to go through the fall before playing in the spring."
Junior Karolina Chernaya (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) played as No. 1 in 2012 and returns after posting a12-7 mark. She was the 2011 Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year for the Camels.
Last year, the No. 2 slot went to sophomore Tamara Stanic (Budva, Montenegro), who compiled a 9-5 mark last spring, while Natasha Afridi (Tokoyo, Japan) went 4-0 at No. 2 and 8-3 at No. 3. Ortiz and Telenga stood out in the fall according to coach Johnson
"Our top three are going to be very, very solid with Karolina [Chernaya], Tamara [Stanic] and Anna [Ortiz]," said coach Johnson. "Another freshman in Ewa [Telenga] had a very promising fall."
During the fall campaign, Chernaya posted a 6-2 mark followed by Stanic at 5-2. A 3-4 performance was generated by Telenga, while Ortiz went 2-6 in her first collegiate action.
Senior Lourdes Ros (Greensboro, N.C.)/Ros totaled a 4-1 fall season as a tandem. With a 3-1 record, the duo of Chernaya/Telenga had a successful fall.
The doubles teams were mixed up throughout the fall as coach Johnson was seeing which players work the best together.
Campbell opens the season on Friday at the VCU Indoor 4x1 Invitational. On Friday, the Camels play Temple at 11 a.m. before facing off against host VCU at 7 p.m. Morgan State rounds out the tournament for Campbell on Saturday at 11 a.m.