By Jonathan Stark

Division I tennis is split up into a fall season and a spring season. During the fall, teams compete in tournaments that feature many schools. Players compete as individuals towards a common goal-just like professional players competing in the U.S. Open.

In the spring, players compete for their school against other schools-and only against one school at a time. Teams are awarded one point for every match they win in singles play. They can win up to six matches in singles. In doubles, it’s the best of three. The first school to win two matches wins one point and therefore breaks a tie if the singles matches were split. At the end of an event, the school with the most points wins.

“Fall is great for players as individuals to grow and enhance their status. It’s more about the guys and the girls than the team,” said head coach Rob Oertel. “I just hope we can grow and become better players so when the team season comes around in January we’re ready.”

A little over five months ago, the women’s tennis season came to an end in the OVC Championship.

The Colonels were a near-perfect 9-1 in conference play. Their only loss came in the second-to-last regular season match against Samford. The loss dropped Eastern to a two-seed in the tournament, but they still made it to the championship against Samford, who’d beaten them only a little more than a week before.

“It was a hell of a year for our women,” head coach Rob Oertel said.

This season, the Colonels well seek redemption and another shot at what they almost had. They return all but one player this fall. Meredith Giles, who played the two-spot, graduated this past spring.

The women’s team will keep its number one spot. Svetlana Pimenova tore though her competition, going 21-14 in singles. The senior went 25-9 overall and 9-1 in OVC matches, winning her final 11 matches of the season.

Pimenova was also part of a doubles pair with Alexandra Sitnikova. They had a 21-10 record in doubles play, and were also the only group to win a match in the OVC championship against Samford.

A player to keep an eye on will be Myriem Mhirit. Mhirit stayed off the radar most of the season in the five-spot but finished the year at 14-5 and 8-1 in the conference. She was also 4-0 in doubles matches.

“With five out of the six players returning, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be as good on paper as anybody in the conference,” Oertel said. “We’ll have to see how recruiting goes, but those veterans returning I feel great about.I think fallshould be really good for them.”

Women’s first tournament is Sept. 19-21, when they compete in the Tennessee-Chattanooga Fall Invite in Chattanooga, Tenn.