SEASON PREVIEW: Pitt-Bradford Tennis To Open Seasons At Home This Weekend

SEASON PREVIEW: Pitt-Bradford Tennis To Open Seasons At Home This Weekend

BRADFORD, Pa. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford men's and women's tennis teams will open up its 2019-20 seasons hosting weekend matches at the Kessel Athletic Complex.

The Panther women will host Fredonia Friday before both teams host Alfred on Saturday.

Pitt-Bradford is guided by Head Coach Susan Schenfield, who is in her 11th season leading both programs.

"We will rely on the experience and leadership of our returners to help carry the Panthers through a challenging conference schedule and prepare for another shot at AMCC Championships," Schenfield said.  "Our veteran group understands what it will take to win and they know that every game is going to come down to those crucial points. They are providing the energy and work ethic that is helping keep everyone focused."

The women's team welcomes back six members from its 2018 squad, including seniors Rebecca Jordan and Aaliyah Smith, junior Jessica Jordan and sophomores Abbie Buerkle, Kassandra Dawson-Sepuloea and Elanie Roberts.

"Aaliyah and Rebecca had success last season and is looking to build upon that by staying aggressive off the baseline," Schenfield said. "Jessie Jordan is our lone junior whose unique style works to her advantage and gives her the ability to hit consistent winners. Abbie, Elanie and Kassy have been part of last year's team's strong depth.  With their spirit and intensity, they will impact our lineup."

Joining the Panthers this season are five incoming freshmen: Emily Snyder, Thea Kalender, Jorgely Yzquierdo, Caroline Hance and Avitamarie Demieri.

"All of our newcomers bring talent and drive to compete for every point this season," Schenfield said. "They will challenge for playing time in the heart of the singles lineup."

"I think one advantage to this year's women's team is that at every position we will continue to improve throughout the season," Schenfield continued. "It will be how we handle the losses that will make a difference. We have to keep our heads up and continue toward our ultimate goal."

The Panther men will field an experienced roster of five returners and a pair of newcomers.

Back for the Panthers are four seniors in Jacob Volz, Jeffrey Kocjancic, Noah Bartholomew and Drew Patla, along with junior Jonathan Azcona.

"The returners know that you have to work day in and day out," Schenfield said. "They have made strides during their playing time here at Pitt-Bradford and know how to move forward to a conference title that will require focus and attention to detail on the court."

New to the Panthers this season is junior Jacob Schlegel and freshman Brenan Italia.

"They are players that have no ceiling for their game," Schenfield said of her newcomers. "They have good knowledge of point construction and placement. Their all-court game will be a force in our lineup."

Though the Panther men will complete its season in the spring, seven matches including five conference showdowns will take place in the fall.

"The conference schedule will be extremely tough, highly competitive and exciting to watch as the season progresses," Schenfield said. "In matches, determination comes in many forms—quick feet, attacking the net, fast serve. As a team, we need to always be ready to pounce. Perfect strokes can take us only so far—determination does most of the work. If we can keep our intensity infectious we will have a successful season."

Friday's women's match with Fredonia will start at 4 p.m. while both Panther teams will host Alfred Saturday starting at 1 p.m.