The 2019 Big South Preseason Poll tabbed the Radford women’s tennis team to place fourth out of 10 teams, the conference office announced Wednesday afternoon.
The Highlanders earned 59 points including one third-place vote in the poll, which was voted on by the head coaches of each program in the Big South Conference. Expectations continue to grow for this up-and-coming team under head coach Jessica Giuggioli considering Radford was picked seventh in the same poll a year ago.
“I’m excited for the spring season to start,” said Giuggioli. “We have made good progress throughout the Fall and we’re looking forward to improving match after match this spring.”
In 2018, the Highlanders went 10-12 overall and 3-5 in conference play including wins over Longwood, Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville. The squad returns a ton of talent from that team with Jeanine Acierto, Tyler Blalock, Drousile Dzeubo and Lilly Ellick all continuing their Radford careers.
Radford also boasts several newcomers that are sure to make a difference. Texas Rio Grande Valley transfer Anastasia Belyaeva already showed how good she can be this fall while freshmen Malin Falk, Katey Fruehauf and Marielle Leahy will all have a chance to contribute throughout the year.
The Highlanders kick off the 2019 season on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. when they host West Virginia State. Big South play then begins on Saturday, Feb. 16 at UNC Asheville. The 2019 Big South Tournament will then be hosted by Radford from April 16 to April 19 right here in the New River Valley.
2019 Women’s Tennis Preseason Poll
1. Winthrop – 100 points, 10 first-place votes
2. Campbell – 86
3. Charleston Southern – 81
4. Radford – 59
5. Presbyterian – 56
6. UNC Asheville – 54
7. Gardner-Webb – 47
8. USC Upstate – 31
T9. Longwood – 18
T9. Hampton – 18