Redhawks Open Season at Home vs. Arkansas State Saturday - Southeast Missouri State University Athletics
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Redhawks Open Season at Home vs. Arkansas State Saturday
The Redhawks open their 2013 season at home against Arkansas State Saturday

Redhawks Open Season at Home vs. Arkansas State Saturday

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - The Southeast Missouri women's tennis team opens its 2013 season at home against Arkansas State (1-1) Saturday. Match time is set for 1 p.m., CT, indoors at the Drury Plaza Conference Center.

Southeast, which played in four tournaments prior to this spring, will make its debut in dual competition under first-year head coach Josh Moore. Moore hits the NCAA Division I stage after coaching Texas A&M-Kingsville during its first season of competition in 2012.

The Redhawks, picked ninth in this year's Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Poll, enter the season with six returning players.

Heather Robinson, who competed in the No. 5 singles spot most of last season, vaulted to the No. 1 position. Robinson went an even 4-4 during tournament singles play in the fall.

Elizabeth Nyenwe and Nikole Novikova will also be mainstays in the top half of Southeast's lineup.

Nyenwe led the team with 14 singles victories, finishing 14-10 overall and 10-6 in dual play at the No. 2 spot in 2010.

Novikova played all but one dual at the No. 1 position during her career. She earned four wins there last season and has experience at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, as well.

Jessica Courtnell, Melissa Martin and Lauren Schaper complete the lineup.

Courtnell will open the season at No. 4, while Martin moves to No. 5. Martin posted a strong 13-9 singles record and went 11-6 in dual action as a freshman. Schaper played in five duals last year.

"This is a close knit team that gets along well," said Moore. "They have a desire to do well and now we're trying to make that happen. We've had some rough seasons and the culture needs to change. We showed good competitiveness during the fall and we're hoping that carries over to the spring."

In doubles, Nyenwe and Novikova will likely occupy No. 1. Robinson and Schaper follow at No. 2, and the tandem of Courtnell and Martin will be at No. 3. The Redhawks are looking to get stronger performances out of their doubles lineup after struggling to a 15-33 mark during the 2012 dual campaign.

"Doubles has been a sore spot for this team in the past," said Moore. "We think we'll be much more competitive here this season."

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