Sept. 4, 1997

1997 Women's Tennis Outlook

The Providence College women's tennis team returns five its top six players from last year's squad. In 1996-97, the competitive Friars posted their seventh consecutive winning season with a 14-9 mark, which included an eighth-place finish at the BIG EAST Championship and a second-place finish at the New England Championship.

This season Head Coach Carl LaBranche believes his team can continue to improve in BIG EAST action and strive to capture its first New England Championship since 1994. However to achieve these goals, LaBranche will need consistent play from his experienced squad.

Leading the Friars this season will be senior Monica Martinez (Guayaquil, Ecuador) and sophomore Jessie LeMasters (Cincinnati, Ohio). Martinez returns for her senior season after posting a 13-13 singles mark last year. An extremely versatile player, Martinez should vie for one of the top two singles positions on the squad. She played in the No. 1, 2, and 3 singles positions in 1996-97. Martinez also will help the team with her strong doubles play. Last year, she led the team in doubles wins with a 12-10 mark. In two seasons at PC, she has registered a 28-17 doubles record. LeMasters will try to improve on her highly successful freshman campaign. In her first season at Providence, LeMasters posted a 14-11-1 record in the No. 1 singles spot. She again will battle for the team's top singles position. LeMasters also gained significant experience in doubles play, registering a 10-11 mark.

Although the team lost No. 3 singles player Claire Curry, who transferred to be closer to home at the University of Texas, LaBranche believes freshman Alison Carton (Millburn, N.J.) will be able to fill the void. In fact, Carton could compete for one of the top three singles positions. In four years at Millburn High School, she compiled a 105-25 record and earned First Team All-Conference honors in 1996 and 1997.

Christina Martin (Delray Beach, Fla.) returns for her senior season as one of PC's top singles players. In three seasons at Providence, Martin has recorded a 34-33 singles record. Although hampered by injuries last year, she managed to produce a 8-7 doubles mark. Martin is a very consistent player and will be expected to provide leadership to the squad this season.

Also expected to impact the starting lineup are senior Cahira Castellini (Cincinnati, Ohio), junior Katie Burke (Madison, Conn.) and sophomore Kim Bergin (Winchester, Mass.). Castellini, who has a strong backhand, should help the team this season with her doubles play. Last year, she registered an 11-10 doubles mark in the No. 1, 2 and 3 positions. Burke, who was a walk-on as a freshman, continues to improve. In two years at Providence, she has registered a 17-13-1 singles mark and a 20-17 doubles record. Bergin had an excellent freshman season. She led the team win singles wins with an 18-10 record in the No. 3, 4 and 5 positions. Bergin also was strong in doubles action, registering a 6-0 record.

With a majority of last year's team returning, the Providence College's women's tennis squad should be extremely competitive in 1997-98. The Friars should improve in their BIG EAST play and could challenge for the New England Championship.

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