MOUNT VERNON – A new era of Cornell women's tennis begins Saturday when the Rams take the court against Loras for a 9 a.m. home match under first-year head coach Carolina Hannes.
Hannes, a standout player at the University of Northern Iowa, came to the Hilltop in July after a record-setting 19-6 dual season as an assistant coach at San Jose State University. She takes over a proud Cornell program that has won nearly 70 percent of its matches over three decades.
Hannes knows there is work ahead, inheriting a small and relatively young Ram squad in her first stint as a collegiate head coach. Junior Ariana Hudson is the lone returning letterwinner from last year's 8-5 team that went 3-2 in the Midwest Conference.
"The girls are excited, and I'm excited to see their improvement," said Hannes, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, who posted 86 career singles wins at UNI. "The first week has been great. The girls have already shown improvement and are all working hard."
Hudson, a two-year starter and team captain, heads the lineup after playing at the No. 1 position last season. She finished 7-9 against top singles completion, and compiled a 10-6 mark in doubles. Hudson enters the season with a 48-28 career record.
Hannes will look for other players to emerge this fall, including a pair of promising freshmen in Shashanna Moll and Anne Seng. The Rams bring back sophomores Dana Dowell, Heather Schrauth, Veronika Reidel and junior Natalie Nish to round out the roster.
Following Saturday's opener, Cornell has home duals scheduled against MWC foe Lawrence on Sept. 6 and nonconference rival Coe on Sept. 10. The Rams have other home contests against Grinnell (Sept. 15), Knox (Oct. 12) and Lake Forest (Oct. 12).
The MWC team and individual championships are Oct. 18-20 in Madison, Wis.