After finishing 2015 with a 16-11 record and 9-9 ACC mark, the women’s tennis team looks to make the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in the past ten seasons in 2016. The Noles made a late season run last year that saw them reach the ACC Tournament semifinals for the sixth time in eight seasons with wins against a pair of Top 25 teams.
Leading Florida State on the court in 2016 is fifth-year senior Daneika Borthwick. Playing on Court 1 last season, Borthwick was 15-8 and had six wins against ranked competition, contributing to her being named the Southeast region’s Most Improved Senior of the Year. After receiving a waiver from the NCAA for her fourth year of competition at Florida State, Borthwick looks to improve on last season’s results and lead the squad at the top spots in the lineup.
Joining Borthwick is fellow senior Yukako Noi. In her second season at Florida State after transferring from VCU, Noi was 15-9 overall last season, including 11-6 at the number three singles position. She was the deciding point in last year’s ACC Quarterfinal match against No. 15 Miami, outlasting the Hurricanes’ Clementina Riobueno in three sets to help the Seminoles advance to the ACC semifinals. Over the summer, she won the Florida region U.S. Open National Qualifier and qualified for the US Open draw in New Haven, Conn. Borthwick and Noi enter the year ranked No. 41 in the national doubles standings.
Along with the pair of seniors, junior Daniela Schippers and sophomores Gabriella Castaneda and Lana Rush will be asked to take on a larger role in replacing three players from last season’s team. Castaneda led the team last year with 26 wins, including a 10-2 mark in ACC play. She also was part of a doubles team that went 9-0 on Court 2 during the dual match season. Schippers was 21-12 last year and 9-2 on Court 6. Schippers missed the fall season with a wrist and ankle injury and is expected to be back for a large part of the spring.
Newcomers Ariana Rahmanparast and Julia Mikulski join the team and will be expected to make immediate contributions to the lineup. Rahmanparast joined the team in the fall, compiling a 4-4 singles record in a pair of tournaments. Mikulski entered school in January and will play her first collegiate match January 16 when the Seminoles open the season at No. 57 Old Dominion before heading to New Orleans on January 18 to face No. 65 Tulane.
Florida State’s first home match is Wednesday, February 3 at 4 p.m. against No. 3 Florida.