Team heads to Chattanooga with interim coaching staff

Carly Besser
Staff writer

The 2011-12 season is finally here and the women’s tennis team is ready to ace it. With a clean slate, the Racers are playing their first official OVC match at the Steve Baras Invitational in Chattanooga, Tenn., Friday through Sunday.

The team is currently coached by Kara Amundson, a new interim coach replacing previous Coach Connie Keasling.

“We’re so ready for this,” Amundson said. “The girls are really excited to actually play other teams.”

The Racers capped off last season with an overall record of 10-13, beating opponents such as Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky University and Tennessee State. They made it all the way to the 2010 OVC conference championship but lost in the first round to Austin Peay. Although they did not achieve their desired results, Amundson said she is confident in the singles teams.

“The singles teams are really strong right now. It’s going to help us out a lot in Chattanooga,” she said.

However, Amundson said the team is still working on their doubles games.

“We’re still trying to blend our doubles right now,” she said. “We’re working on it.”

This year’s roster is six women strong, two of them being freshmen. This is Jordana Klein’s and Carolyn Huerth’s first season with the Racers. Returning players this season are sophomore Carla Suga, junior Ashley Canty and seniors Cassidy Cunitz and Ashley Pierson.

Amundson said all of the girls work together extremely well. One of the girls to watch this year is Cunitz. In the 2009-10 season, Cunitz played No. 2 through No. 5 singles. She finished the season 7-4 overall and went 6-6 in the fall tournaments.

She ended the season with three straight wins in her final singles matches. Collectively, Cunitz has an overall singles record of 31-25 and an overall doubles record of 24-25.

This season, Cunitz said the Racers have practiced incredibly hard to be ready for the season.

“We run and lift to prepare for matches,” she said. “And we play a lot of matches against each other to get a feel for the game again.”

Through the tough practices and long workouts, Cunitz said she is confident her team has what it takes to compete with the best of them.

“We all click really well,” she said. “I would say that this year’s team is the most cohesive team we have had since I’ve been here.”

The team is full of spirit this year and Cunitz said that she enjoys being calling herself a Racer.

“I love the support I get here,” she said “The team and department is awesome.”

Of the three invitationals ahead of the team, one is at home. The Murray State Invitational is Nov. 12 and 13.

Contact Besser