LYNCHBURG, Va. – After being picked sixth in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Preseason poll, the Randolph College women's tennis team is ready to raise its ranking in the 2019 season.
"The 2019 women's squad returns nearly its entire starting line-up including two All-ODAC selections. This team's goals are high and very achievable with their hard working mentality on and off court togetherness," said ninth-year head coach Jamie Megginson. "In addition, peer leadership is always imperative for a team's success. This year's co-captains, Ashley Schmitz and Lauren Appel, along with lone senior Jordon Kirkpatrick, are leading the way in terms of attitude and toughness."
The WildCats finished the 2017-18 season 11-6 overall and 7-4 in the ODAC. Randolph fought its way through a close quarterfinal round against Bridgewater, defeating the Eagles, 5-4, to move on to the semifinal round. However, the WildCats' season would come to an end at the hands of eventual victors Washington and Lee University as the Generals swept Randolph, 5-0.
Two key returners for the WildCats line-up include juniors Keyu Jin (Kunming, China/No. 8 Middle School) and Ashley Schmitz (Keswick, Va./Homeschool), both of whom were named to the 2018 All-State Second Team in singles play.
Jin concluded the season with a 14-6 singles record, going 12-4 at the No. 1 spot, and was a consistent No. 1 doubles player which earned her First-Team All-ODAC honors at No. 1 doubles and Second-Team All-ODAC accolades at No. 1 singles.
Schmitz started out at No. 3 singles in the fall before moving up to the No. 2 spot for the spring, where she went 11-2 on the season for a 17-4 overall singles record and earned Second-Team All-ODAC No. 2 Singles honors.
Also returning for their junior campaigns are Lauren Appel (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park), who played primarily at No. 4 singles and teamed up with Schmitz at No. 2 doubles, and Sarah Mueller (Falls Church, Va./George Mason), who was a versatile No. 4 and No. 5 singles player for the WildCats last season and was paired up with sophomore Ranita Opoku-Sarfo (Stafford, Va./Brooke Point) at No. 3 doubles where the duo fashioned a 5-5 record.
Rounding out the returners are senior Jordon Kirkpatrick (Lutz, Fla./Sunlake) and sophomore Kristyn Underwood (Afton, Va./Nelson County). First-years Hayley Ashford (Providence Forge, Va./New Kent) and Savana Mata (Santa Barbara, Calif./San Marcos) will make their debut for Randolph this spring.
"Our spring break trip to Hilton Head Island is a great spring board heading into the majority of the conference slate," said Megginson. "This trip enables the ladies to gain valuable match experience and more bonding time. This group is fun to coach and as a coaching staff, we look forward to having a memorable season."
The WildCats open its 2019 spring season on Monday, Feb. 18 at home against Washington and Lee at 3 p.m. on the Randolph Tennis Courts.