Women’s tennis team won’t be intimidated

By Brandonian Volbrecht | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Flagler women’s tennis is ready for just about anything this season. The Saints have already been battling some of the nation’s top-ranked NCAA Div. II schools.

The team’s season opener was in Savannah, Ga., against Armstrong Atlantic, the No. 2 team in the nation. Although Flagler went down 0-9, coach Walter Shinn was not worried.

“It was a good match because we got beat badly, but on the court we did pretty well,” he said. “We weren’t intimidated.”

The Saints hosted Savannah College of Art and Design on Feb. 15, losing 1-5 and Valdosta State on Feb. 16, with another loss 2-7.

Even though it sounds like a rough start, Shinn sees a bright future.

“We are improving and I feel good about that,” he said. “It’s a young team and I think it’s a good team for the future.”

The roster has four new freshmen: Gabriela Ospina, Chelsea Taylor, Hannah Wickstrom and Deon Miller.

Returning letter winners are Monica Burbelo, Renee Chiaverini, Chelsi de Cuba, Chelsea Maratta and Fernanda Ospina. Ospina took down the No. 4 player in Div. II in the loss to Valdosta State.

“We played against No. 2, 3 and 4 in the nation,” sophomore Roxane Alt said. “It’s a good practice for us to see what’s wrong with our team strategy and what we can change.”

Alt competes at No. 1 doubles with De Cuba.

With the roughest stretch of their schedule behind them, the Saints host five of their next six matches, and with the easier schedule, they see their first victory on the horizon.

“We’re playing a lot of teams we can beat,” Shinn said. “It’s not like we are going to get killed. We’ve played the best teams we can play.”

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