As the underdogs of every match during their 2012 season, the Marlins finished with an overall record of 3-15 and an Old Dominion Athletic Conference record of 2-8.
“Last season we had five girls and during every match we would be down 0 to 2 automatically because our roster wasn’t big enough,” said senior Stephanie Bittner.
This season promises change according to the 2013 ODAC preseason poll, in which the team is ranked second behind the Washington & Lee Generals.
“I think Washington & Lee is our biggest competition because they have very talented and strong players with experience and a big line-up,” Bittner said.
While the Generals have 16 players to fill their roster that average two and a half years playing experience underneath their belts, the Marlins only have two returning players from last season. Bittner will be returning along with sophomore Hannah Rice.
“Last season was really tough because we always started each match from behind, but our coach this season has done a really good job recruiting a full roster of girls,” Bittner said.
Seven freshmen fill the remainder of the spring roster.
Freshman Lauren Brooker from Wake Forest, N.C. has played tennis since she was six and was practically born on a tennis court.
“Ever since I was two years old, I was in a basket of balls on a tennis court with coaches,” said Brooker.
Brooker hopes to have a perfect season, but values bonding with her teammates even more.
“Having a team bond is the most important aspect to me,” Brooker said. “The more of a family the team is, the better we will perform in the season.”
The new blood began to show their skill during the fall semester. Freshman Mia Proctor won the conso crown in the ITA Southeast Regional. Brooker and fellow freshman Sara Yousif shared in the success by making it to the Championship Flight in singles and doubles.
Along with others on the team, Brooker has high expectations for her teammates and for her first season as a Marlin.
“My expectation for the season is to have each and every one of us perform to our highest standards and to fight for every match we play,” Brooker said.
The first home match this semester is on March 2 at 2 p.m. on the Everett Tennis Center against the Methodist University Monarchs.