ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville women’s tennis team is a preseason pick to finish in sixth place in the Big South Conference this year. The league announced its annual preseason poll that is voted on by the coaches earlier this week.


The Bulldogs open the 2014 season on Saturday at the Asheville Racquet Club Downtown against Mars Hill starting at 3 p.m.  Admission is free.


Defending BSC champion Winthrop is the preseason pick to win the title, followed by Charleston Southern, Liberty, Campbell and Coastal Carolina. Asheville is sixth and the Bulldogs are followed by Radford, Gardner-Webb, Longwood and Presbyterian College.


Lise Gregory’s team has a chance to make some noise this season. The Bulldogs were much improved in 2013 and finished with a 12-10 overall record. Asheville returns everyone from last year and has added some newcomers that played well in the fall.


“We have a nice nucleus returning plus our newcomers have done a good job,” stated Gregory. “We want to stay away from injuries but we have some depth this season that if we do have an injury or two we can still be successful.”


Heading up the returnees is the lone senior on this year’s club in Zoe Hamel. Zoe should play the #1 spot for the Bulldogs again this year.


Also returning for the 2014 campaign are juniors Christine Boissevain, Emily McNall and Amryn Soldier plus sophomores Gillian Lewis and Ericka Rivero. All five have been playing steadily since their freshman season and have accumulated a lot of experience.


Newcomers include sophomore transfer Lauren Brooker and freshmen Hunter Hall and Caroline Sherrer.


“I like our team,” commented Gregory. “We had a good fall, and we’re anxious to get the season started.”