NORTON, Mass.- Two years removed from its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance, the Wheaton College women's tennis program is poised to improve upon its 2011-12 season that saw the Lyons go 10-5 overall with a conference tourney win.
"We had a great year in 2011-12 despite having graduated a few very strong players from the golden year teams of 2009-10 and 2010-11," said veteran head coach Lynn Miller, who was inducted into the United States Tennis Association (USTA) New England Hall of Fame in June.
Wheaton notched a 4-3 record in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in 2011, good enough to earn the Lyons a home match in the league tournament's opening round. In the tourney, they downed Mount Holyoke College before falling to eventual champion Wellesley College.
Miller, who enters her 33rd year with the women, welcomes back all but one of the team's six starters from last spring, which includes a pair of all-conference players. Wheaton ended the spring ranked 19th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) regional poll.
"It is our hope to regain our ITA regional ranking and perhaps again make it a round in the NEWMAC Tournament," added Miller. "Much of our success and how far we go will be based on our depth, so we'll have to wait and see how the season unfolds."
Wheaton's balanced roster consists of two seniors, four juniors, a pair of sophomores and three freshmen. Junior captain Lyndsay Cooke (Bakersfield, Calif./Bakersfield Christian) returns following her selection as an all-conference second teamer. She was 17-3 as the team's ace and sided with sophomore all-league player Alexandra Marlowe (Mesa, Ariz./Mountain View) to go 14-4 at first doubles. Playing second singles, Marlowe posted a 14-5 mark.
Senior Jesse Boggis (Hopkinton, Mass./Hopkinton) and juniors Morgan Bell (Gloucester, Mass./Pingree School) and Sarah Crom (Bremen, Germany/International School of Bremen) round out the team's returning starters. Each went 7-4 in dual matches at the fourth through sixth singles positions.
Bell played fourth singles and teamed with Boggis to win three doubles matches. Seeing the majority of time in the fifth singles spot, Crom went 13-6 in doubles action, turning in an 8-3 dual-match record in the second position. Boggis assumed the sixth singles slot.
Rounding out the group of returners are senior Julia Parmakian (Gorham, Maine/Gorham), junior Helena Xenakis (Lakeville, Mass./Apponoquet Regional) and sophomore Kathryn Burleson (Osterville, Mass./Cape Cod Academy). Parmakian saw time at doubles last year, Burleson played in six doubles matches and a trio of singles contests, while Xenakis joined the team in the spring.
Wheaton begins plays this Saturday when it hosts Simmons College. Highlighting its fall schedule is an October 9 home match against 19th-ranked Wellesley and an October 16 away contest against league foe Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which is tied for 30th in the latest ITA national poll.