Jan. 14, 2008
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - As the Maryland women's tennis team heads into the 2008 spring season, the team will look to work together to achieve success in a tough Atlantic Coast Conference. The squad features four freshmen who will have to learn about the challenges of ACC and national play.
Junior Michal Amir will serve as the team captain, with sophomore Lisa Miller as her co-captain. The duo looks to help lead the younger members of the team as they grow into their roles and adjust to the new competition.
As part of one of the strongest collegiate tennis conferences in the nation, the young Terps will have to step up nearly every weekend to face the top teams in the country.
"We want to be there, that's what we're all about. That's a privilege and it's also a challenge and that's why we're here," said head coach Martin Novak, "We want to play a tough schedule. We have to rise to that occasion. Everyone on the team has to rise to that occasion."
Coming off of a season plagued with injuries, the Terrapins are ready to wipe the slate clean and start the year off on the right foot.
"They all have different strengths, that's the good thing about our team. No one really can out hit the other one on pure skill. They have to do it with heart, with a little work ethic. So basically, what we're doing now is establishing this," said Novak, "The speed of this and the health of our team is obviously going to be determining how successful we're going to be this year."
The Terps, both veterans and new faces, have been hard at work throughout the fall season to master drills, to become cohesive and to get used to the new experiences ahead of them.
"I see improvements already. The theory and the goal in the fall is to just keep building, keep getting stronger, keep getting faster," said Novak.
The four new freshmen bring experience with them from all over the globe, including three players from Europe. "All of the players here have had very solid junior careers, so the level of talent is not that different," said Novak.
Julia Huschke hails from Celebration, Fla., where she was named Osceola's Player of the Year from 2004-07 and The Orlando Sentinel's Player of the Year in 2006.
Oksana Krutiyenko, originally from Nova Kahovko, Ukraine, comes to Maryland after moving to Miami, Fla. in 2003. She was a National Open Backdraw Semifinalist in 2006.
Karin Lundmark joins the Terps from Falkenberg, Sweden, where she was in the top three in the Under 18 age group in 2006.
Adela Matejkova hails from Prague, Czech Republic, where her club team was ranked third nationally in 2003.
The team hopes to work together to match the success of their junior careers here at Maryland. Novak said, "What we have to come up with is a competitive spirit within ourselves to match that on a national level."
The Terps open the spring campaign on February 2 when they play host to Dartmouth.