Syracuse Orange Athletics as a whole have been through quite the renaissance in recent years. While football is still working out the kinks, many of the non-revenue and Olympic sports have flourished. Cross country, field hockey and
men's track & field now have National Championships to their names and programs like track & field, men's soccer, women's lacrosse, women's basketball and rowing have reached new heights. All of a sudden, the athletic department as a whole is something Orange fans can be proud of and should be spreading their appreciation around.
Now you can add the Syracuse Tennis squad to that list.
You would have thought tennis would have already gotten there as it was one of the programs DOC Gross brought in a high-profile coach to oversee. Former pro Luke Jensen took over the program in 2006 and went 106-57, which is nothing to sneeze at. But the program never really made waves, that is, until Jensen resigned three matches into the 2014 season over complaints raised by former and current players.
Enter new coach Younes Limam, an assistant coach from Rice known for his recruiting and helping a very successful Owls program maintain a high level of play.
Nine matches into his second season, all Limam has done is lead SU to it's highest rank in program history. The 8-1 Orange earned a spot in the ITA Tennis Top 25 for the first time in program history this week with a No. 24 ranking.
"Our team has made a lot of great memories and had a lot of firsts so far this year. These young ladies are dedicated and driven to continue to improve in everything that they do," head coach Younes Limam said. "They have pulled together and shown their toughness on the court against every team we've faced."
What more, Limam has an extremely-young squad that he's working with. Freshman Dina Hegab remains perfect in singles play with a 8-0 record, freshman Gabriela Knutson is 7-1, and freshman Maria Tritou is 6-2. Grad student Anna Shkudun anchors the squad and helped lead them to victory over No. 30 Notre Dame recently, the highest win against a ranked opponent since 2011.
If this makes you want to head out and watch the players in their next match, hold up. They'll be on the road for their next four matches, starting this Saturday against No. 6 Duke and followed by a stop at No. 55 North Carolina State on Sunday. After stops at Georgia Tech and Clemson, they'll return home to host UNC on March 24. Be ready.