After posting the most successful season since 2000, the Caltech women’s tennis team is looking for bigger and better things as the 2014 season unfolds.
During the 2013 campaign Caltech recorded seven wins, including three of them against a SCIAC opponent. More over the league recognized two on the season ending all-conference team for the first time in school history. The Beavers finished the year ranked 16th in the region.
Rebekah Kitto was a major contributor to that success. She was named to the SCIAC first-team for the third straight season and represented Caltech at the NCAA singles championship. The senior already holds the school record for most career (47) and season (19) singles wins. Last season she went undefeated in 19 dual matches while playing at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. Kitto ended the year ranked seventh in the ITA West Region and 32nd in the nation.
Monica Li showed an immense amount of potential during her first-year with the program. She recorded 13 dual match wins, the third best mark in school history, while playing in the top two singles positions. Li earned six wins against league opponents which helped her earned second-team all-conference honors. The native of Boulder, CO completed her successful season ranked 13th in the region.
The tandem combined to post 12 dual match wins at the squads top doubles team last season. In their first season together they earned a ranking of ninth in the west region.
“Rebekah and Monica being leadership and experience to the team,” said head coach Mandy Gamble. “Their success last season is very motivating to our program.”
Three experienced players return to the fold in 2014. Senior Michelle Tang stepped-in on nine occasions last year during singles play. This season Tang is poised to be a regular in the starting line-up. Junior Michelle Lee was a vital component for the Beavers as she competed in all but one dual match last year. Lee played predominately in the fourth singles spot.
“Michelle Lee is playing really well so far this season. I think this will be a very good for her as she is building on what she developed last season,” Gamble said. “Michelle Tang is going to contribute on a regular basis. Her success this season will be contingent on how hard she works each day at practice.”
Valerie Pietrasz is also coming back for her sophomore campaign in 2014. During her first year with the squad she was a valuable contributor as a doubles player and, once again, will play at either the second or third doubles positions.
“Valerie is going to give us valuable court time,” Gamble said. “I foresee her providing significant contributions to our doubles play.”
A trio of first-year players will be called upon to contribute regularly to the starting line-up. Sophia Chen was a four-year member of the Corona Del Mar High School team where she was honored with all-county and all-district honors her senior year. Katie Antilla was a solid doubles player for Redondo Union High School (CA) while Jenny Sheng played for four-years at Earl of March Secondary School in Ottawa, Canada.
“Jenny Sheng is a great addition to our squad. I am very excited about what she has demonstrated so far. Sophia is also playing extremely well and will be a vital contributor to the team’s success,” Gamble said. “Katie provides depth to the team and as she works her way into the collegiate game, if she works hard she could become a regular in our varsity line-up.”