TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State women’s tennis entered the 2016-2017 season with a host of fresh faces and a number of young freshmen joining the fold. Though inexperienced, the Seminoles reached new heights as a team and individually en route to a ninth NCAA Championship appearance in 11 seasons and 10th overall under head coach Jennifer Hyde, capping the year with the team’s first NCAA tournament victory in three years.
Senior Daniela Schippers led the Seminoles as one of two upperclassmen on the squad, and for her efforts was named the ITA Most Improved Senior in the Southeast Region following the season. On the year, Schippers racked up 11 singles victories while holding a staggering 18-3 record in doubles. Schippers’ doubles performance allowed the Noles to win a program-record 20 doubles points in 2017, including six straight to end the season and advance in the NCAA Championship. The honor is the second in program history following Daneika Borthwick’s award in 2015.
Schippers and junior Gabriella Castaneda combined to open the season 13-0 in doubles before finishing the season with an impressive 16-2 record as a pair. Despite missing a handful of matches due to injury, her performance and emotional leadership earned Castaneda third team All-ACC honors at the conclusion of the season. The award is the second for Castaneda after also claiming third team honors following her freshman season in 2015.
“I love this event,” senior Daniela Schippers said. “Even though I’m an international, I’ve grown to love this country so much. I wouldn’t be here without everyone that served for this country, so it’s great to be able to give a little bit back.”
Before the match, three FSU student veterans will perform the coin flip on each of the doubles courts before play commences. The event aims to honor student veterans and active service members and their families as Florida State University continues to be one of the most veteran-friendly universities in the nation.
“Without the sacrifices that these men and women put forward, we wouldn’t have the chance to do what we do,” Hyde said. “I wouldn’t have the job I have, these student-athletes wouldn’t have the privileges that they have. It’s amazing for us to have an opportunity to pause and think about it. We owe that courtesy back and it’s the least that we could do for what they do for us.”
Last year, the Seminoles hosted a doubleheader featuring both the men’s and women’s tennis programs. The women swept Navy 7-0 and Florida A&M 4-0, while the men defeated The Citadel 6-2 and Liberty 4-0. Before the matches, the family of Scott Speicher was recognized and the teams exchanged challenge coins as President Thrasher addressed the crowd.
Both matches on Saturday are scheduled to be played out.
As always, admission is free inside the Scott Speicher Tennis Center. In the case of inclement weather, play will be moved to 2566 Pottsdamer Rd, Tallahassee, FL, 32310.
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