AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn women’s tennis begins the fall portion of the 2017-18 season with a trip to Coral Gables, Fla. for the Miami Fall Invite Sept. 22-24.
The Tigers will look to build off the success of one of the most impressive seasons in school history last year that included a program-record 25 wins, three All-SEC selections and a second-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16.
“We are very excited to capitalize on the success that we had last year. We want to build on that,” head coach Lauren Spencer said. “We’ve got two great freshmen that came in and that are going to help build our program and take us to the next step, which is an SEC Championship and try to get a national championship for us.
Spencer, who was named ITA Southern Region Coach of the Year for the second-consecutive season, picked up her 200th career win, including her 100th victory at Auburn, and is the school’s all-time winningest coach in program history with a 109-66 record. The Tigers reached No. 4 in the Oracle/ITA team rankings in March, the highest ranking in program history, and finished the season ranked 14th.
Alizee Michaud had a record-breaking junior campaign that included a single-season school record 58 wins (33 singles, 25 doubles) and First Team All-SEC honors. Now entering her senior season, the Orlando, Fla., native has been tabbed No. 9 in the ITA preseason rankings, tied for the highest preseason singles mark in school history.
“It’s really exciting, really good and obviously a huge thing, but also it is just preseason,” Michaud said. “It is just riding off the wave of last year, so even though, yeah, it’s amazing, I know in the back of my mind that it is based off last year and that I still have to work to be able to finish that high this year.”
Michaud also begins the season paired with sophomore Taylor Russo as the No. 2 doubles pair in the rankings, highest preseason doubles ranking in school history. Russo, ranked No. 60 in singles, earned All-Freshman SEC honors last season.
All-SEC senior Andie Dikosavljevic, ranked No. 21 in singles, also returns to lead the Tigers along with junior No. 94 Alannah Griffin and sophomore No. 114 Georgie Axon. A pair of highly-touted freshman in Port Charlotte, Fla., native Jaeda Daniel and Birmingham, Ala., product Madeline Meredith also make their debuts in the Auburn lineup.
“They are so feisty,” Michaud said of the freshmen. “They are just such great tennis players and remind me a lot of myself, but better. They are more mature than I was and don’t have as much growing to do. The sky is the limit for them.”
The Tigers are eager to get the season started and will do so this Friday in a matchup against Miami, Pittsburgh and Florida Gulf Coast in Coral Gables. Teams will play doubles beginning at 8 am CT followed by singles play.
“We are fortunate that we are going to be able to go to Miami,” Spencer said. “It is one of our favorite places to go. It is not only a mental test playing good teams, but also a physical test with having hot weather and playing outdoors. We like the grind of it because we are able to find out where we are physically and what we need to do to get better.”