SEASON PREVIEW: Panthers Women's Tennis Looks To Continue Playoff Culture In 2018

Photo by Erika Helo
Photo by Erika Helo

BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford women's tennis team is set to begin its 2018 season with a road match at Fredonia Saturday.

Head Coach Susan Schenfield is entering her 10th season at the helm of all things Pitt-Bradford tennis. Schenfield was responsible for founding both the men's and women's tennis programs in 2008.

"This team is mixed with leadership -- on the court and in the classroom -- and talent that will make an impact this season," Schenfield said of her 2018 squad. "A tough dual schedule, conference and non-conference, will put the team to the test match after match, all the while building toward their goal of an AMCC Championship."

Five returners will lead this Panthers squad, highlighted by reigning All-AMCC honoree sophomore Jessica Jordan. Also back for Pitt-Bradford are juniors Maya Bingaman, Rebecca Jordan, Aaliyah Smith and Katelyn Wells.

"These returners are highly motivated to be a more consistent team than last year, and will provide the energy and work ethic that will help to keep everyone focused," Schenfield said. "They all return a large amount of valuable match experience."

Six new faces round out the team: freshmen Abbie Buerkle (Warren, Pa.), Elanie Roberts (Castorland, N.Y.), Kassandra Dawson-Sepuloea (DuBois, Pa.) and Juliah Laemmer (Bradford, Pa.), and seniors Juhanna Don (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Virginia Ogundayo (Abuja, Nigeria). 

"They all have talent, despite being young," Schenfield said. "Several freshmen will be in the starting lineup, and I am not worried about that all. This team likes to work hard and push each other to be better." 

A season ago, the Panthers pulled off a victory over D'Youville in the final contest of the regular season to earn a spot in the AMCC Championship Tournament, where they later narrowly fell to Penn State-Behrend.

"The conference is getting better and tougher, and is a highly competitive and balanced league," Schenfield said of her competition. "There isn't any team or match that we can take for granted. We need to be ready to compete this season if we want a chance to return to the tournament. I think we will make some noise this season."