ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s tennis team released its 2016 spring schedule today, Dec. 3, as announced by head coach Elizabeth Anderson. The Phoenix will play 21 matches in 2016, four against ACC opponents and six against CAA teams.
Ten of the team’s matches will be played at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center, and the Phoenix will face UNC Greensboro and William & Mary at the nearby Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center in Greensboro.
“We are looking forward to a very competitive spring schedule and to hosting the CAA Tournament in late April,” Anderson said. “The team has improved a lot since last year and I’m excited about watching them contend for a conference championship. Our fans will continue to be a source of source of strength for the team and I can’t wait to see everyone at our matches throughout the season.”
Elon returns six players – Kamilla Beisenova, Taylor Casey, Olivia Lucas, Kirsten Ward, Bailey Edwards and Erica Braschi – from last year’s team and welcomes freshmen Maria Paraja and Suzanne Zenoni, as well as Natalia Janowicz, a transfer from NC State.
Here are five things to know about the 2016 Elon women’s tennis schedule:
NCAA Tournament competition
The first two matches of the season for the Phoenix will come against North Carolina and Duke, both of which played in the 2015 Women’s Tennis Championship. Elon opens its spring slate Jan. 10 against the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill and plays at Duke Jan. 20.
William & Mary represented the CAA in the NCAA Tournament in 2015 and was knocked out in the first round. The Tribe will play the Phoenix on a neutral court at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center Jan. 23.
Continuing in the Colonial
The 2016 season will be Elon’s second in the CAA after 11 years in the Southern Conference. Six matches against league competition are scheduled for 2016, including home matches against UNC Wilmington (Feb. 12) and Delaware (March 31), road matchups against College of Charleston (March 21), James Madison (April 2) and Towson (April 3), and a match against William & Mary in Greensboro Jan. 29.
The Phoenix went 15-8 last season, including an impressive 8-2 mark at home. Elon earned the No. 3 seed in the 2015 CAA Tournament and defeated sixth-seeded Towson before suffering a semifinal loss to second-seeded College of Charleston.
Elon will play William & Mary, Florida Gulf Coast and Delaware for the first time in 2016. The Phoenix was scheduled to face defending CAA champion William & Mary in 2015 but the match was cancelled. The Tribe’s 16-7 record last season included wins against Wake Forest, Maryland and NC State.
Fellow CAA member Delaware went 6-9 last season and was knocked out of the CAA Tournament by William & Mary. Elon will host the Blue Hens March 31.
Florida Gulf Coast, which will come to Elon for a Feb. 19 match, advanced to the championship match of the Atlantic Sun Tournament last season and lost to North Florida.
Fourteen of the team’s 21 matches come against common opponents from 2015. The Phoenix once again travels to play North Carolina (Jan. 10) and Wake Forest (Jan. 30) of the ACC, and faces UNC Greensboro (Jan. 23) and Davidson (March 12), both former Phoenix foes in the SoCon.
UNC Wilmington and Charlotte will visit Elon for matches on Feb. 12 and March 18, respectively, after the Phoenix played road matches against the Seahawks and 49ers last season. Elon went 9-6 last season against teams they will face again in 2016.
CAA Tournament comes to town
In July, Elon was selected to host the 2016 Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, which will be held April 21-24 at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center and the Burlington Tennis Center. It will mark the first-ever CAA Tournament hosted by the Phoenix and first conference tournament hosted by the program since the 2013 SoCon Tournament. Elon also hosted the SoCon Tournament in 2009 and the Big South Tournament from 2000-2003.