A front of winter weather swept through the entire southeast Feb. 12-14, forcing nearly every Elon University athletic team, including the women’s tennis team, to reconfigure its schedule.
But the weather is warming, the snow is melting away, and the Elon women’s tennis season is heating up.
The first of the team’s cancellations came Feb. 8, when its match against Norfolk State University was cancelled due to inclement weather. Elon’s match against Campbell University, originally scheduled for Feb. 12 at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center, was postponed as the winter weather entered the Elon area. The snow and ice conditions stuck around long enough to push Elon’s match against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington from its original date, Feb. 14, to Feb. 17.
But it is not just on the court where Phoenix players are finding success — Elon student-athletes are prospering in the classroom as well.
Senior Frida Jansaker was named Southern Conference student athlete of the week Feb. 19, the fourth Elon student athlete to win the award this academic year, and the first from the women’s tennis team. Jansaker is 3-3 this season in singles play, and has won her last three matches. Her most impressive win of the season came Jan. 25, when she defeated Maria Panalte of No. 55 Kansas State University. In the classroom, Jansaker holds a 3.85 grade point average, while playing at No. 2 singles and doubles for the tennis team.
The Phoenix faced a schedule early this season that included matchups against four teams ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). Elon spent time in the rankings around this time, once ranked as high at No. 74 in the nation. The Phoenix has since dropped from the rankings.
“That [early schedule] was pretty tough,” said Elon head coach Elizabeth Anderson. “But I think now it helps because we have a little bit of variety to our schedule. We just have to continue to work hard every single day. I think the experience we gained from playing the top schools in the nation will help us as we begin to move forward.”
The Phoenix went winless during that stretch, losing all four matches, equaling its loss total from the 2013 spring season in the first week of the new campaign. But Elon is not scheduled to play another ranked team the rest of this season, and has a few matches remaining before starting Southern Conference play.
For the Phoenix, the matches leading up to the open of conference play are the most important.
“All the girls are playing really well and working hard together,” said Anderson. “We’re just trying to work on things right now so that we’re ready for conference [matches].”
The Phoenix will take on Radford University in its next match Feb. 22 at the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center. Radford will come to Elon with a record of 1-3 on season, having lost three straight matches. The Bulldogs’ lone win this season came against the 49ers of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Jan. 24, a 4-1 win.
The 49ers will visit Elon Feb. 26, Elon’s last match before opening conference play against Georgia Southern University March 1. UNCC is 1-4 heading into its Feb. 20 match against Belmont Abbey College, with a loss to an Elon rival from the SoCon, Furman University.