BABSON PARK, Mass.—Coming off a 13-win campaign that included a trip to the conference tournament final last spring, the Babson College women's tennis team will look to continue its recent success under new leadership in 2019.
CHANGE AT THE TOP
First-year head coach Michael Kopelman was hired to lead the men's and women's tennis programs back September following a successful three-year stint as an assistant coach at nearby Brandeis University. The 2018 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year, Kopelman helped the Brandeis men to 14 wins while rising as high as No. 14 in the national poll last spring. In 2016-17, he helped the Judges' women's squad to school-record 15 wins and top-20 ranking in the ITA poll.
The Green and White brings back seven players from a team that went 13-5 and reached the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Touranment final for the first time since 2015 last season. Included in this group are a trio of all-conference performers in junior Emily Roeper (Belle Mead, N.J.) and sophomores Carolina Merz (Santa Tecla, El Salvador) and Alexa Tutecky (North York, Ontario).
NOW FOR THE ENCORE
Tutecky, who became Babson's first NEWMAC Rookie of the Year since 2014, and Merz are both looking to build off terrific rookie seasons. Tutecky went 11-3 and was an all-conference selection at number one singles in addition to posting a 19-5 mark in all doubles matches. An all-league pick in both singles and doubles, Merz went 11-2 at number two singles and finished 14-6 in doubles in 2018.
Roeper, who is the lone junior on the squad, will be looked at to provide leadership alongside seniors Alexandra Blizard (Dover, Mass.) and Chloe Brandt (Denver, Colo.). Roeper was a career-best 10-4 in singles and earned all-league honors in doubles after going 11-4 at No. 3. Blizard went 4-1 at sixth singles, while Brandt, who won 29 doubles matches over her first two seasons, is looking to bounce back from an injury that cost her nearly all of last season.
RAISING THEIR PROFILE
Sophomores Ally Kaden (Brielle, N.J.) and Marissa Madison (Columbus, Ohio) gained valuable experience as rookies and are looking to crack the lineup on a consistent basis this spring. Madison, who played matches in four different flights, finished 4-6 in singles and 4-1 in doubles, while Kaden won a pair of doubles matches as a first-year.
In addition to the seven returning players, Kopelman welcomes three first-years and a sophomore transfer to the program. Despite the large group of returners, just three players on the roster enter the spring with more than a year of experience in the program.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
The Green and White faces a daunting schedule that includes matches against six teams ranked in the ITA preseason top 40, which includes a mid-March contest against top-ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, which captured its first Division III national championship last season. The Beavers' also will face No. 8 Pomona-Pitzer, ninth-ranked MIT, 19th-ranked Brandeis, No. 35 Wellesley and No. 38 Trinity.