GREENSBORO – A new year and a new coach will hopefully bring new results to the North Carolina A&T women’s tennis program as they open their season on Saturday, January 18 at UNC Wilmington at 1 p.m.
In 2014, first-year head coach Bruce Myers will put lone senior Kimberly Stalling, junior Kenya Colbert and sophomore Jayla Scott, who was recently named to the first-ever HBCU All-American team, on the court. Newcomers Lexxus Betts and Saundra Smith will round out the Aggies five-woman roster.
Stalling, a four-year member of the tennis team, brings the most collegiate playing experience. Although she possesses a quiet demeanor, head coach Bruce Myers has already spotted her enthusiasm and potential to be a leader this season.
“Kimberly has been called to the forefront and she’s accepted her role,” Myers said. “She has a lot of energy and I think Kimberly is kind of grooming Kenya for next year and so far it’s worked out well.”
A&T did not have a fall season last semester and from what Myers has observed, it has some work to do. He’s commended his team’s athleticism and believes that focusing on strategies such as how to develop, stay in, and end a point will set them on the right path.
“Hopefully with some more time working on tennis tactics and strategies we’ll use the first half of the season to get ready for our conference games in March,” said Myers. “These non-conference matches will be a good measure for me to see where our team is. I’ll be able to watch and give us things to work on. These first few matches will give me the opportunity to see what we need to improve on in practices that we didn’t have in the fall.”
Alongside the goals of improving on the court, the team also wants to become more visible on campus. Because A&T doesn’t play on campus due to reconstruction of the Aggies Tennis Complex, some fans don’t recognize that the program still exists. Hopefully that will change with the men’s tennis team resuming next season. When A&T returns back to competing on campus, it plans on taking back that home-court advantage atmosphere that it had once created.
“Just looking back over the records over the past few seasons we just want to increase our win total,” explained Myers. “We set up the schedule so that it is obtainable for the ladies. We especially want to do it for Kim who has had to go through a lot. We want to get her some wins so we can match her career total. That’s kind of the short-term goal.”
Following the season-opener, A&T will host Wofford on Friday, Jan. 24 (1 p.m.) and Appalachian State on Saturday, Jan. 25 (1 p.m.) at the Simkins Indoor Tennis Center.