Utah Women's Tennis To Open 2021 Season in Arlington
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah women's tennis team is set to open the 2021 season in Arlington, Texas when the squad competes at the Big 12/Pac-12 Dual. Utah will take on Texas Tech, Kansas and Kansas State beginning Monday, January 11 and running through Wednesday, January 13 in the neutral site event.
Utah will take on Texas Tech and Kansas, who both finished the 2020 shortened season in the final ITA rankings, with Kansas ranked No. 32 in the final poll and Tech ranked No. 48. Kansas State. Utah climbed to No. 44 in last year's ITA poll during the season, while Kansas State reached as high as No. 38 in 2020.
Monday: Doubles - Utah vs. Kansas State; Singles - Utah vs. Kansas
Tuesday: Doubles - Utah vs. Kansas; Singles - Utah vs. Texas Tech
Wednesday: Doubles - Utah vs. Texas Tech; Singles - Utah vs. Kansas State
2021 SEASON PREVIEW
After an abbreviated 2020 season, the Utes are more excited than ever to resume matches this upcoming 2021 season. With only nine matches and the PAC-12 Championships left to complete for 2020, all sporting events were cancelled amidst the global pandemic, but during the short-lived season the Utes were able to finish with a final record of 10-5 and reach a season-high ranking of No. 44 in the nation.
Though the season was shortened due to the pandemic, head coach Ric Mortera led the Utes to a 5-0 start in his first season with the program, which was the best start since the 1983-84 campaign. He also guided the Utes to a 10-5 dual play finish, along with an 8-0 finish against Mountain Region opponents. The 2020 season was highlighted by an upset against the No. 33-ranked Denver Pioneers, and the program's 11th-straight victory against in-state rival BYU. Mortera led Madison Tattini and Whitney Hekking to a No. 12 final ranking in the ITA/Oracle doubles poll, just shy of All-American honors, after holding a 12-1 record. The No. 12 final ranking on double polls has been the highest for a pair of Utes since the 1992 season.
Mortera returns all but one Ute in the starting six for the 2021 season. Tattini was a starter for No.1 position all year for both doubles and singles. Tattini won 12-straight double matches to begin the season, highlighted by wins against duos from Minnesota, No. 12 UCF, Ole Miss, and No. 33 Denver. Emily Dush held the team's highest overall record for singles (9-2) playing primarily in No. 4 position and had 8-of-9 singles wins coming in straight sets. Dush also downed No. 12 UCF's Sara Culbertson 6-1, 6-4 at No. 5 position, and earned a 6-4, 6-1 win against Tatum Berger of No. 33 Denver.
Along with Tattini and Dush, Utah also has four other returning juniors in Madeline and Anya Lamoreaux, Lindsay Hung, and Jasmine Rich. Heading into her second season with the Utes, Madeline Lamoreaux finished a successful 2020 season playing at No. 2 position for singles and doubles with partner Dush. Anya Lamoreaux finished the season playing the No. 6 position for singles and No. 3 spot for doubles primarily playing with Hung. Hung played at No. 4 and No. 5 positions for singles, and finished the 2020 season with partner Anya Lamoreaux at No. 3 position for doubles.
For the upcoming season, the Utes welcome Anastasia Goncharova, who transferred from UC Santa Barbara. Goncharova helped the team achieve a top-50 national team ranking during the 2020 season. She played at the No. 1 doubles position during her sophomore season and posted notable doubles wins over San Diego, Nebraska, USC and Miami.
Utah women's tennis will return to the George S. Eccles Tennis Center on Saturday, Jan. 30 to take on Idaho State in the 2021 home opener. The first serve between the Utes and Bengals is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT.