2009 Season Preview: MCCC Women's Tennis

West Windsor, N.J. - Considering four of his returning sophomores played at the National Junior College Athletic Association Women's Tennis Division III Championships as freshmen, Mercer County Community College head coach Marc Vecchiolla believes his squad has just the right momentum heading into the 2009 season.

"I think they would be disappointed if they don't repeat that achievement," says Vecchiolla, who enters his 13th season guiding the Vikings.

The Vikings finished fifth at the nationals in Tucson, Ariz., in May. Rebecca Wolf (Pennington, N.J.), Kristina Holsman (Hamilton, N.J.), Emily Dow (Princeton Junction, N.J.) and Maria Eldridge (Lawrenceville, N.J.) all return from that squad, which went 4-3 in head-to-head regular season matches and was the Region 19 Tournament runner-up.The Vikings begin their season Thursday,

September 10 at Mercer County Park Tennis Center against Brookdale Community College (3:30 p.m. start).

Wolf is replacing the graduated Hillary Gall at No. 1 singles after going 11-5 in singles and 14-5 in doubles as a freshman. Holsman follows at No. 2 singles and was 8-8 at singles and 5-8 at doubles as a freshman. The two form the No. 1 doubles tandem and will complement each other with their similar styles.

"She's a gritty baseliner who battles for every point," Vecchiolla says about Wolf. "She stays back and hits lots of balls. She tries to set up the point and then win it with her forehand.

"Kristina is very similar. She likes to hit lots of ball and stay back. Her best shot is her forehand, too."

Dow will play No. 3 singles after going 5-8 in singles and 7-7 in doubles as a freshman. Eldridge takes over at No. 4 singles after capping her freshman season (7-5 singles and 5-4 doubles) as Vecchiolla's 27th women's tennis player to earn All-American honors. She was the national runner-up at No. 6 singles.

Sophomore Joanne Zabodyn (Juliustown, N.J.) is a newcomer to the program who opens the season at No. 5 singles. Other newcomers in the mix are freshmen Sachiko Nishida (Princeton) and Shantelle Bacon-Jones (Trenton, N.J). Dow and Eldridge will play at No. 2 doubles, while Zabodyn will combine with one of the other newcomers at No. 3 doubles.

"I want them to work hard, improve their game and have fun," Vecchiolla says.

MCCC will serve again as tournament host for the Second Women's Northeast Regional ITA/Wilson Tennis Championships Friday, September 25 through Sunday, September 27 at the Mercer County Park Tennis Center. Flight A singles and doubles winners will qualify for the ITA National Small College Championships October 16-19 at Copeland-Cox Tennis Center in Mobile, Ala.

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No. 1 Rebecca Wolf
No. 2 Kristina Holsman
No. 3 Emily Dow
No. 4 Maria Eldridge