BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Coming off a second place finish in 2016, the Birmingham-Southern women's tennis team is looking to take the Southern Athletic Association three-time champion Sewanee. The path uprooting their rival continues this weekend as they open their home season Saturday, Feb. 11 against Covenant College at noon. Part of their process is to be present and enjoy the moment.
"Our goal is for each individual to improve daily," said Head Coach Ann Dielen. "Therefor, make the team a better team. And hopefully, we'll peak at the conference championships."
The Panthers return first-team all-conference and nationally ranked singles player Carlee Petro (Birmingham, Ala./Mountain Brook HS). After losing just one regular season conference match last year, the junior started the 2017 spring season ranked No. 42 in the nation.
Sophomores McKenzie Courtney (Mobile, Ala./UMS-Wright Prep) and Isabella Wisener (Horton, Ala./Douglas HS) will help anchor the Panthers this season. Wisener has played out of the #1 and #2 singles positions while Courtney has gone 1-1 at the #2 and #3 positions. The pair are currently 1-1 in #2 doubles.
Fresh faces expected to make an immediate impact are Emily Whitlock (Panama City, Fla./A.C. Mosley HS) and Lexie Dillard (Jasper, Ala./Walker HS). The freshmen have one #1 doubles win this season together so far and both boast an overall record of 3-2 heading into spring play.
"Lexie is a really good doubles player," said Dielen. "Emily had an excellent fall season and is working hard."
The Panthers opened the spring season on the road at No. 23 Trinity University, facing nationally ranked singles and doubles competition. They begin their home season against Covenant Saturday and then host three straight matches. The Panthers matchup against University of Alabama at Huntsville on Sunday, Feb. 12, West Alabama on Saturday, Feb. 18, and then Jacksonville State on Sunday, March 5.
BSC opens SAA play at home against Millsaps College on Friday, March 24. The rematch of the 2016 SAA championship will happen on senior day this season when BSC hosts Sewanee on Saturday, April 8.