Posted: Sep 14, 2018
The Oglethorpe women's tennis team had a very successful 2018, finishing fourth in the SAA with a 12-7 record, and ranked 16th in the Atlantic South. The squad will surely miss 4-time All-SAA performer Caroline Johnson along with stellar doubles player Hallie Sickling. However, they have everyone else back and will be led by a solid senior class.
Seniors Shannon Cruz, Delaney Abood and Charlotte Disley give the team great experience. Shannon has twice been selected All-SAA Honorable Mention, and looks to hold a top three spot this year. She had a sterling 15-3 record in 2017-18. She can smack the ball off both sides. Abood was 8-6 at the 4/5 slots. She is quite fast and hitting more consistently. She can occasionally crunch a serve. Disley finished with a 9-6 doubles record and has been slowed by injury but the Stormy Petrels look for her to quickly regain her form and challenge for a singles slot. She has great hands at the net and sees the court well.
Junior 2018 All-SAA Honorable Mention performer Hannah Dattilo will probably start at the top after going 9-6 at the No. 2 slot last year. She is the team's best doubles player with great movement and a strong return of serve. She has punishing ground strokes and is starting to make a good transition play. Taylor Cranford was All-SAA Honorable Mention in 2017 and will fill out the top three positions. She has a wicked lefty slice serve and solid backhand. With three returning All-SAA Honorable Mention players at the top of the lineup, the team looks to be solid in the top half.
Junior Ela Bielicki is playing with more aggression and is cracking her forehand. She is solid in doubles and looks to play higher in the lineup. Sophomore Lisette Phillips is one of Oglethorpe's most improved players and will battle for a higher slot this season. She is belting her forehand and has developed a strong weapon. Newcomer Emma Carter is working hard and getting better each practice.
The doubles pairings are being evaluated, but having three lefties in the lineup should be an advantage for the Petrels. Currently, Dattilo/Cruz are filling the top slot. They're both being left handed can be a great advantage. Disley/Cranford were 4-1 at the No. 3 slot last year and may play higher. Both Abood and Phillips have improved their volleys and overall doubles play and either may paired with Bielicki.
The Petrels are solid one through three with Dattilo, Cruz and Cranford in some order. They have a good bottom half of the lineup with Bielicki, Abood, Disley and Phillips. That should make up for their lack of depth on the roster.
The Petrels will travel to Montgomery, Alabama, for the John McWilliams Invitational on this weekend. They will follow that tournament up with the ITA Regionals starting Sept. 28 on Emory's campus.