As the VT women’s tennis team of 2019-20 prepared to take on Virginia Commonwealth University, the NCAA made the decision to halt play.
The 2019-20 season for Virginia Tech women’s tennis had a little bit of everything. From welcoming schools to Blacksburg in the fall and a rapid start in the spring, the abruptly concluded season was one that leaves the program looking optimistically towards the future.
Hokie Fall Invite
Juniors Nika Kozar and Nina Sorkin had strong outings over the three day event, winning together as doubles partners and not dropping a match in singles. Senior Shene Disbergen made her fall debut, along with sophomore Annie Clark. Freshman Audrey Butterworth played in her first match for the Hokies during the weekend, as well.
Novotna, Pinto take on ITA All-Americans
Senior Natalie Novotna and junior Rita Pinto traveled to Tulsa, Okla., to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships. Novotna competed in the singles portion of the event, then paired up with Pinto as the fifteenth-ranked doubles team. The two picked up a win against Tulsa on the weekend.
Coach Zawacki added two new pieces to the coaching staff, Aneta Miksovska (assistant coach) and Larry Holmes (volunteer assistant coach). Miksovska came fresh off a collegiate tennis career at Washington State, where she is fourth in all-time wins for the Cougars. Holmes joins the Hokies following stints at Bethany College and Benedictine University as the head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Hokies host ITA Atlantic Regionals
Schools from all across the Atlantic region came to Burrows-Burleson Tennis Center for the ITA regional competition. Sorkin and Kozar had good showings — reaching the round of 32 — while former ITA Atlantic Regional winner Novotna stole the show in a run to the semifinals.
Tech storms into spring slate
The Hokies came out of the gate firing at home to start their spring season with convincing wins over App. State, ETSU, Winthrop, and JMU at home. Splitting her matches on courts No. 5 and No. 6, freshman Erika Cheng secured wins in all four matches.
Jackpot in Las Vegas
Tech ventured out west to Las Vegas to face Arkansas and UNLV. In their match against the Razorbacks, the Hokies showed plenty of resilience and battled back after dropping the doubles point, winning the match 4-3. Their contest the next day against UNLV was called off due to weather.
Tech kicked off ACC play at home fairly early in the year and were narrowly edged by Clemson. The Hokies rebounded, however, including a dominant 6-1 performance against Penn State, followed by a 5-2 win against New River Valley foes Radford.
Season cut short
The Hokies ran into a tough spot in ACC play, competing against five ranked squads in six matches, including four top-10 opponents (Duke, UNC, NC State, and Georgia Tech). In this time, however, the tandem of junior Elizabet Danailova and Kozar picked up some momentum and had impressive displays against ranked opponents in matches that were unfinished.
As the Hokies awaited their next challenge, VCU, the NCAA made the decision to halt play.
As the season was brought to a close, Novotna’s career at Virginia Tech concluded, as well. Disbergen will return and the Hokies have a promising 2020 class that should positively impact the team immediately.