Rollins (0-0, 0-0 SSC) vs. Arkansas Fort-Smith (0-0, 0-0 HC)
Winter Park, Fla. – Bert Martin Tennis Complex
Friday, February 1, 2018 – 3:30 p.m.
Rollins will be in search of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances as they prepare to start the 2019 season. The Tars open the year with a visit from the Arkansas-Fort Smith Lions. The Tars bring back nine players from last year's squad, including seven that saw action during the 2018 dual match season. Rollins will also welcome two freshmen and a transfer to the roster. The Tars have been selected sixth in the Sunshine State Conference Preseason Poll, and enter the year ranked No. 20 in the ITA National Team Rankings and No. 7 in the South Region. The Lions had their home opener against Southeastern Oklahoma State cancelled, and will now start their season in Florida, facing the Tars before heading to St. Augustine to match up with the Flagler Saints.
WHO TO WATCH:
Katie Dyson heads into her senior campaign as the No. 31 singles player in the country, and No. 9 in the South Region, according to the ITA. The London, England native earned Second Team All-SSC honors in 2018, before advancing in the ITA South Regional, and winning the Florida Tech Panther and the C.L. Varner Invitationals this fall. Alexandra Borg will also start the year slated among the nation's best, ranked as the No. 13 singles player in the south. The two then combine to form the No. 9 doubles partnership in the region. Seniors Savanna Fuller, Carlye Goldman, and Teresa Kaiser will also try to make an impact as Rollins looks to start 2019 on the right foot.
The Lions are coming off a 9-8 season in which they fell in the first round of the Heartland Conference Tournament to second-seeded St. Edward's. Arkansas Fort-Smith will turn to the reigning Heartland Conference Freshman of the Year Samantha Wong, as they look to make a deeper postseason run in 2019. Wong, who was also named Second Team All-Conference, finished 2018 at 9-7 in singles action and 12-5 in doubles play. The Grapevine, Texas native, and the rest of the Lions, must recover from the graduation of Wong's doubles partner, First Team All-Conference honoree, Lindsy Pearce. Wong and Pearce formed the No. 31 doubles team in the nation in 2018. Senior Majella Nobile will be looked to for leadership, while she looks to recreate her 16-4 singles record from last year.
The Tars will play a string of exhibition matches against State College of Florida, Hillsborough Community College, and Bethune-Cookman, before returning to official action by traveling to Valdosta State on Saturday, February 16, for a 1 p.m. match.