Facing its second season under the wings of head coach Jeff Wyshner, the women’s tennis team wants to show that the second place finish in the MAAC Tournament last year was far from a fluke.

The Stags had a discouraging eighth place finish in the 2001 MAAC Tournament, but showed a promising future last season as they fell 6-1 to Loyola in the finals. In the mid-90’s, the Fairfield women’s tennis program was in its prime, winning six straight MAAC titles. Wyshner said that the team is now working back towards that caliber of play and building on what last year’s team accomplished.

“It will be hard to duplicate last year’s success, but we are continually rebuilding, and I am absolutely happy with our performance,” Wyshner said.

The question going through many of the women’s heads, including captain Erin Reeves, ’04, is whether the team can compensate from the graduation of Kelly DiMario and Kristy Golden and still maintain the respectable status it has achieved in the league.

“We definitely have the potential to finish like we did last season. Niagara, Siena and Loyola are going to test us, but I think we can hold our own,” Reeves said.

Diana Webb, ’05, steps up to the No. 1 singles slot this season, and will attempt to replace DiMario. Wyshner said that Webb and Dimario are incomparable because they are such different players. He is pleased with Webb’s performance and doesn’t see the loss of DiMario as a detrimental factor in the season’s potential outcome.

“Diana was capable of playing the No. 1 spot last year. Her work ethic is outstanding, and she understands the components playing No. 1 entails,” Wyshner said.

Reeves will see action at the No. 2 singles position, Megan Stauffer, ’06, is No.3, and Annie Mullowney, ’04, is No. 4.

Even after the Stags stepped up their play last season, Loyola doesn’t feel Fairfield poses a threat to its title.

“We don’t see Fairfield as our toughest competitor. We lost to Niagara, so they are who we’re looking out for now,” Kaitlin Russo, a member of the Loyola team, said. “We still expect solid matches, but we aren’t too concerned right now.”

Reeves said that Niagara is the team to beat after beating Loyola last week. Niagara, 5-0, sits in first place in the MAAC.

The Stags stand at 5-5 overall in the spring season, and 2-0 in the MAAC. They handily slammed St. Peter’s 7-0 last weekend during their first interleague contest.

Fairfield followed up with another 7-0 shutout on Tuesday against Iona.

The Stags look to avenge their MAAC Championship loss to Loyola when they travel to face the Greyhounds this Saturday.

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