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September 21, 2023

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September 21, 2023

Tennis team begins 2014 season

The Bowling Green tennis team will start its 2014-15 season at the Miami Invitational with new head coach Olga Elkin.

The team will join Xavier University, University of Louisville and host team Miami University for the two day long event. The event will mark the beginning of the season for each team.

The Falcons will begin the season for the first time in 24 years without head coach Penny Dean, who retired this past summer. However, Elkin has already proved herself during her two-year stint at Murray State before coming to BG. She led the Racers to an Ohio Valley Conference championship, an NCAA Tournament appearance, and was named OVC Coach of the Year.

“I haven’t experienced winning a conference or going to the NCAA Tournament,” sophomore Harley Hutchison said. “It’s exciting to have a coach that’s experienced that and knows what it takes to get us to that next level.”

Elkin will be coaching a young team that she feels confident in. They return four players, three sophomores and one junior. They also add four freshman to the roster.

“We have a great group of new incoming freshman,” Elkin said. “They’ve been working really hard out here. I think they’re already doing a great job.”

Drew Fillis comes into the season as the captain and leader of the team just one summer after being one of the younger players.

“She’s been doing a fantastic job out here in practice and with helping the new ones,” Elkin said. “She had a great group of girls to learn from with Nikki [Chiricosta] and Emily [Reuland]. It was a good group to guide her into being an upperclassman.”

The junior won 24 of her matches last year with 13 wins coming from doubles matches with now graduated Emily Reuland.

“I’m going to miss playing with Emily because our games complimented each other really well, but I have played with a bunch of other people before,” Fillis said. “It will be different playing with someone else but it will work.”

In addition to Fillis, the team will also benefit from the return of Hutchison, who won 27 matches as a freshman.

“I’m really excited for this year. I’ve been training and practicing all summer just trying to get myself ready,” Hutchison said. “I hope I have as much success as I did last year.”

This first invitational will prove to be a test for the Falcons as they face tough competition.

Conference opponent Miami has also hired a new coach this past summer, Yana Carollo. Carollo won five conference titles during her time with VCU along with seven NCAA Tournament appearances where her team made it as far as the Sweet 16.

Miami, who won the last six MAC regular season titles, returns a solid core of six players who went 7-1 in the MAC last year. They also bring in a strong recruiting class that was ranked seventh among mid-major conferences according to the Tennis Recruiting Network.

“They’re just a good team. I’m a little nervous but I know we can contend with them. They’re a MAC school so we’re going to have to,” Fillis said. “Last year was a little upsetting. They’re tough so it’s going to be challenging no matter what but this team can handle it.”

Xavier placed second in the Big East Championships and had an overall record of 19-6 along with a conference record of 5-2 for their first year in the Big East.

They bring back sophomore Sydney Liggins who was the 2014 conference Freshman of the Year. During that year, Liggins compiled 33 wins between both singles and doubles matches.

Louisville was ranked fourth in their conference last year and held a 12-5 overall record.

However, the Cardinals come into this season without Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine, both of whom graduated last spring.

At one point the pair were ranked No. 2 in the country for doubles.

The Louisville team is now left with just one senior.

“Right now we need to make sure we keep working together as a team, that we keep learning each other, and that we get the freshman to fully adapt,” Elkin said. “We’re going to get the team to buy into the program, a new program and just keep getting better every day to fight for that conference championship.”

The invitational will begin this Friday in Oxford, Ohio, at 3 p.m.

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