Giancarlo Navas/ Staff Writer
The FIU women’s tennis team opens their 2015-16 season Friday, Sept. 18 at the 2015 Milwaukee Tennis Classic hosted by Marquette in conjunction with The Town Club. It will be the Town Club’s fifth year as hosts for this tournament. The tournament runs from Friday to Sunday, Sept. 20.
Also participating in the women’s side of the tournament are Cincinnati and Wisconsin. Matches will be held at Fox Point.
“Milwaukee was one of my favorite places to visit’” senior Carlotta Orlando said. “It was fun going to see that city.”
The tournament is a round robin for both singles and doubles, which means every player or team plays against every other opposing player or team. Points are awarded if a team or player wins. The player with the most points from singles and doubles combined wins the tournament.
Seniors Kaitlin Brozovich from Michigan and Carlotta Orlando from Italy look to start their final year strong, last time FIU played in that tournament was in 2013 and Orlando won all her single matches in straight sets and lost only once in doubles. FIU went on to win all their singles matches on day one and won 11 singles matches along with five doubles matches.
Last season was the last year for Yana Koroleva, who lead FIU in wins and winning percentage by sporting a 16-3 record in singles. Without Koroleva’s production the Panthers will have to look to to junior Nina Nagode who won the singles tournament in 2013 and also had a singles record of 23-8 last season. Nagode did not lose in conference play last season going 7-0.
The doubles team of Nagode and Koroleva was 12-0 in 2015. The Panthers are going to look to replace the production of Koroleva with the depth on the team. Carlotta Orlando, who had a career best 21-10 singles record last season, will have to step up for this Panther team. She won 16 matches last season in straight sets and went 6-1 versus conference opponents, including 2-1 in the Conference-USA championships. And the Bosnia/ Herzegovina native Nerma Caluk who has a WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) ranking nearly in the top 1000 will have to make up for the loss of Koroleva.
On Friday, Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. FIU gets things kicked off with a doubles match vs Cincinnati. Then at 11 a.m., they play women’s singles against Wisconsin. On Saturday Sept. 19th at 9 a.m., FIU plays doubles against Wisconsin and at 11 a.m. the Panthers take on Marquette in singles. Finally, on Sunday Sept. 20, FIU has a doubles match with Marquette at 9 a.m. and they close out the tournament playing singles against Cincinnati.
With the 2015-2016 FIU season looming, the Panthers look to this Friday as they begin their season in Milwaukee, Wis. The juniors and underclassmen on the team look to grow. Players like Orlando and Nagode had improved years from their previous campaigns. They look to build on that.
The Panther’s next tournament is in mid-October when FIU attends the Bedford Cup in Ft. Meyers, Fla.