By: Jake Miller
HARTSVILLE, S.C.- The Coker women's tennis team was picked ninth in the South Atlantic Conference preseason poll, the league announced today.
Defending tournament champion Queens took the top spot in the poll with 124 points.To view the full South Atlantic Conference preseason release, click here.
Coker won seven matches in 2016, including six of them in conference play. The Cobras qualified for the South Atlantic Conference championships before falling to the eventual tournament champions in the first round.
"We have a very strong schedule, this conference is very deep and we expect to have to fight," said Simpson.
Simpson stressed the importance of both performance and outcome goals for his squad.
"Our performance goals are things we can control, attitude, effort and our physicality. We have been improving on those every single year," said Simpson.
Coach Simpson also mentioned the emergence of a new team captain in lone senior Sarah Elliott. Elliott won seven singles matches, five in conference in 2016. In doubles play, she won five matches, three within the conference.
"She has been a team captain before, and it is good to see her back in that role. She is comfortable leading, and I think the girls respond well to her," said Simpson.
The Cobras open their 2017 season with back-to-back non-conference opponents when they host Francis Marion on Feb. 1 and travel to Erskine on Feb. 4. Conference play begins Feb. 5 when the Cobras host Brevard, before a two-day tournament (Feb. 10-11) with several other teams in the region. The Cobras conclude the opening month of the season with a home match against Newberry (Feb. 25) and Pfeiffer (Feb. 26) on consecutive days. The women open the month of March jumping back in to SAC competition hosting Carson-Newman (Mar. 11). They follow it up with a four-match SAC road trip, with matches at Catawba (Mar. 14), Anderson (Mar. 21), Tusculum (Mar. 26) and Lenoir-Rhyne on April 1. Lincoln Memorial comes to Hartsville on Apr. 2, before the Cobras final road trip of the regular season to Mars Hill (Apr. 4). The regular season concludes with home matches against Wingate and Queens on back-to-back days (Apr. 8-9).
"With Queens, Wingate and the conference tournament, we have the potential to face eight of the top teams in the conference as well as some regionally-ranked competition," said Simpson.
To view the full video with Head Coach Billy Simpson, click here.
The Cobras open the season when they host Francis Marion on Wednesday February 1 at the Coker Tennis Courts. First serve is set for 2:00 p.m.