HARRISONBURG, Va. - The James Madison women's tennis team will begin its fall 2012 season on Friday, Sept. 14, at the Liberty Fall Classic tournament in Lynchburg, Va.
The Dukes will compete in the two-day event against players from Virginia Tech, Liberty, Radford, Norfolk State and Longwood. It is the first of three tournaments JMU will take part in this fall, as well as the smallest.
Head coach Maria Malerba is excited to see her players back on the courts and start establishing successful lineups for the spring.
"In the first tournament of the year, we are hoping to create less unforced errors and get back into competitive mode," Malerba says. "The fall is about improving the individual whereas the spring is about succeeding as a team."
Players will compete at least twice a day for two or three days in their fall tournaments. It is a time used to establish the best singles and doubles lineups, work on individual weaknesses and learn to work together as a team.
"In the fall, we are not worried about match results. This is our non-traditional season, and we are trying to improve the game of each player," Malerba explains. "If they need to make changes in their game, it has to be done in the fall."
JMU returns six players from last year's lineup, including senior Katherine Bulling (Loveland, Ohio/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy), the 2012 Gary '81 & Fredericka (Cookie) McCollum Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She is joined by fellow seniors Megan Douglass (Wilton, Conn./St. Luke's) and Michelle Nguyen (Springfield, Va./Cherokee Trail), juniors Ruxandra Andriescu (Brampton, Ontario, Canada/Turner Fenton) and Jacqueline Palmucci (Aurora, Colo./Cherokee Trail) and sophomore Taylor Pinchoff (Sylvan Lake, Mich./West Bloomfield). Freshman Cara Wirth (Reading, Pa./Wilson) completes the 2012-13 roster for the Dukes.
Palmucci was named to the 2012 All-CAA Third Team for her singles play. Pinchoff earned All-CAA Third Team honors in 2012 for her doubles play with former teammate Kinsey Pate.
Match play is set to begin on Friday at 9 a.m. on Liberty's Hershey-Esbenshade Tennis Courts.