ELON, N.C. – Elon University women’s tennis is back on the road this week for a doubleheader against the No. 4-ranked Duke Blue Devils and Mount Olive on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Duke University’s Sheffield Indoor Tennis Center. The Phoenix faces the Blue Devils at 3 p.m. followed by the Trojans at 6 p.m.
This will be Elon’s fourth meeting in the program’s Division I era against the Blue Devils. Last season, No. 9-ranked Duke won the match in Durham, 7-0, on Jan. 24, 2018. The matchup against Mount Olive is the first meeting since Elon became a Division I program in 1999-00.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
No. 4-ranked Duke is currently 1-0 on the season after earning a 5-2 victory over No. 9 Oklahoma State on Saturday, Jan. 12. Duke is coming off a 27-4 season in 2018, which was highlighted by an appearance in the 2018 ACC Championship match and a trip to the semifinals of the 2018 NCAA Championships. The Blue Devils have four players ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) singles rankings in Maria Mateas (8), Meible Chi (10), Kelly Chen (37), and Kaitlyn McCarthy (58). Mateas is the highest ranking freshman and finished with a 4-1 record at the ITA All-American tournament. Duke faces the Phoenix on Wednesday before hosting a ITA Kickoff Weekend tournament, beginning on Jan. 26 against Gonzaga. NCAA Division II Mount Olive is playing its first match of the season against the Phoenix. The Trojans finished 7-14 overall and 6-5 in Conference Carolinas.
The Phoenix (2-2) fell for the second time this season with a loss at Furman on Sunday afternoon. Elon has four players with two singles wins thus far in Olivia Archer, Sofia Edo, Montana Moore and Nicole Shiau. The Phoenix returns six players from a 2017-18 team that posted a 14-13 dual match record and finished its season falling to eventual 2018 CAA Champion William & Mary 4-2 in the semifinals of the conference tournament at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center. Highlighting the returners are All-CAA doubles honorees Maria Paraja and Alex Koniaev, as well as Suzanne Zenoni, who finished with a team-best 16-8 singles record. Zenoni, Paraja, and Moore are the three seniors on the squad in 2018-19. Juniors Koniaev and Edo round out Elon’s group of five upperclassman, while Mia Wallace is the maroon and gold’s lone sophomore this season. Additionally, the Phoenix infused three newcomers for 2018-19 in Olivia Archer, Uma Nayar and Nicole Shiau.
200 CAREER WINS
Elizabeth Anderson, who is in her 15th season as head coach of the Phoenix, earned her 200th-career win in Elon’s 7-0 victory over North Carolina A&T on Wednesday, Jan. 16. Since joining the CAA in 2015, the Phoenix has posted a 61-38 dual match record under the direction of Anderson. Anderson collected her first-ever conference coach of the year award in 2016 as she was named the CAA Coach of the Year during Elon’s second season in the league. That season, she led the Phoenix to a 5-1 record against CAA teams. She has led Elon to 14 or more wins in the last seven seasons and guided the program to its first NCAA Tournament in 2014.
STRENGTH IN RETURNERS
Elon’s returners posted 60 total wins in singles and 41 doubles victories during the 2018 season. In addition to Zenoni’s 16 wins in singles, Paraja had the third-most wins with 13 in 2018. Koniaev also finished with double-digit singles wins posting 11 last season. Zenoni is Elon’s top returner in doubles wins as she had 11 last season. As a group, Elon brings back 41 total wins in doubles from a year ago.
Elon University head women’s tennis coach Elizabeth Anderson announced the additions of Olivia Archer (Cornelius, N.C.), Uma Nayar (Ipoh, Malaysia), and Nicole Shiau (Taichung, Taiwan) for the 2018-19 season.
Elon women’s tennis returns to the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center on Saturday, Feb. 9, to host Radford. The match between the Phoenix and the Highlanders is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.