Jan. 28, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas –UT Arlington women’s tennis begins the 2013 season Sunday, Feb. 3 against Old Dominion. First serve is at 10 a.m. at the UTA Tennis Center.
The Mavericks welcome back returners Giada D’Ortona, Verena Scott, Christine Foote and Liucija Smaizyte. Brooke Dennis is the lone transfer, while Elizabeth Thoms and Katarina Dikosavljevic making up the freshman class.
D’Ortona, a junior, is a three-year letter winner and team captain. UTA does not have any seniors on the squad, allowing D’Ortona the opportunity step up and lead the team.
"She has shown tremendous leadership already after just two years with us," UT Arlington coach Diego Benitez said. "She has played tremendously and she has done great for us. She’s always paying attention to little details to help the team. The girls look up to her very much."
Although this is her first year with the Mavericks, Dennis is also a junior and has done a great job assisting D’Ortona in the leadership department.
"She has shown a big commitment," Benitez said. "She stays after practice to hit some balls and she comes early to hit some extra balls. She is really focused on what she wants to do this year and I think she is going to win a lot of matches for us."
Scott played several matches at the No. 2 position for the Mavericks last season, and really proved herself as a freshman competing well.
"Verena is one of the best players we’ve ever had," Benitez said. "Playing at the No. 2 position last year and winning a lot of matches says so much about her level of tennis. She’s playing very well and I expect her to get into the grove again where she finished last season."
Foote and Smaizyte were freshmen last year along with Scott, but did not see much playing time. Benitez believes they have shown consistent progress and improvement.
"We’ve been working a lot with Christine and Liucija and the new freshman because they are going to be competing," he said. "The freshmen on the team have also shown that they are here to work hard and are excited to compete.
"We are happy with the progress we have made. Elizabeth and Katarina are first class recruits and we expect them to be really good freshman. The both came to UTA with a great background in tennis."
UT Arlington will be competing against eight ranked opponents, with half of those matches at UTA Tennis Center. No. 30 Rice is hosting the Mavericks Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. for the Mavs first ranked competition of the season.
"We want to give ourselves a chance to be ranked at for that we have to play ranked opponents," Benitez said, "and we are fortunate to play some of those at home."