Jan. 16, 2014
BOSTON - Returning seven players from last year's 11-6 squad that went undefeated in the America East, the Boston University women's tennis team has been projected to win the Patriot League title in its inaugural season, the conference announced Thursday afternoon.
Guided by 29th-year head coach Lesley Sheehan, the Terriers took home 120 points and 11 first-place votes to edge nine-time defending champion Army, as the Black Knights finished with 119 points and the remaining seven first-place nods.
Owner of 22 America East titles, BU was unable to compete in the conference tournament last May because of the move to the Patriot League but still had a standout year that ended with a 4-3 upset victory over then-No. 63 Boston College. The rest of the women's poll order featured Navy (103), Bucknell (83), Colgate (62), Loyola (59), Lehigh (56), Lafayette (27) and Holy Cross (19).
The preseason polls were voted on by the Patriot League tennis head coaches and sports information directors, who could not vote for their own team.
Key returnees this spring for the Terriers include 2013 All-Conference honorees Leonie-Charlotte Athanasiadis, Lauren Davis and Sami Lieb. A senior co-captain and two-time America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Athanasiadis clinched BU's last NCAA berth in 2011 with a three-set singles victory in the No. 5 slot.
Leading BU with 16 singles victories, Davis is coming off a standout rookie campaign in which she received All-Conference First Team honors and finished the season ranked No. 15 in the northeast region. Lieb went 10-6 last spring to claim All-AE Second Team accolades.
Besides welcoming back senior Kendal Drake, junior Sophie Wyman, sophomore Madison Craft and sophomore Kim McCallum, the Terriers will enter the dual season with three new faces - sophomore Johanna Hyoty, freshman Iris Lin and freshman Barbara Rodriguez.
Hyoty was unable to play last season but brings plenty of experience to BU, having been ranked as high as No. 901 in the WTA rankings and played in Fed Cup competition for Finland. Rodriguez led all Terriers with seven wins during the fall season after moving up as high as No. 278 in the ITF rankings.
The Terriers will open the dual season on Sunday, Jan. 26, at the BU Track & Tennis Center against Rhode Island at 10 a.m. The 2014 Patriot League Women's Tennis Championship will be held at Bucknell from April 17-20.
Patriot League Women's Tennis Preseason Poll
1. Boston U. - 120 (11)
2. Army - 119 (7)
3. Navy - 103
4. Bucknell - 83
5. Colgate - 62
6. Loyola - 59
7. Lehigh - 56
8. Lafayette - 27
9. Holy Cross - 19