The 2012 Caltech women's tennis is filled with optimism.
The Beavers return nearly every player who factored into the team scoring last season for a team that posted the most season wins in over five years.
"I'm really looking forward to this season and it feels very different than last year. We had a good pre-season training segment and the team is fit and ready to go. We've still got lots of things to work on and every day we are out on the courts striving to get better," head coach Mandy Gamble said.
Video -- Jessica Yeung Talks About the Season
Leading the way for the Beavers this season will be Rebekah Kitto. During her first year on-campus last season the native of Jacksonville, Fla. played in the number one singles slot in all but a handful of matches en route to being named to the SCIAC first-team all-conference squad. In addition to her league honor she was also listed as one of the top players in the west region.
"Every match you play at the #1 position is really tough. But Rebekah comes into the season super fit from the volleyball season," Gamble said. "She is hitting the ball well and we are working on small adjustments to her game."
Another sophomore who will make significant contributions to the squad is Jessica Yu. Last year she played in a variety of single positions in helping the team to five wins. Yu also teamed with Kitto to play at the No. 1 doubles slot.
Captaining the squad this season will be Stephanie Kwan and Wubing Ye. The duo are two of the most consistent players in the SCIAC. Last season they played a mixture of singles positions; playing anywhere from the No. 2 position to the No. 4 slot. In addition to their singles play, they teamed up most of the season at the second doubles spot.
"I couldn't have any better team captains than Wubing and Stephanie. They work tremendously well together and the respect the team has for them helps us maximize our efforts," Gamble said.
Michelle Tang will assert herself in the singles line-up as well after playing consistently in the No. 5 and No. 6 singles positions in 2012. Fellow sophomore Jessica Yeung will also contribute important team points for the Beavers after playing a dozen matches in the top six last year.
Junior Cici Li played in a multitude of singles and doubles positions last season. The Fremont, Calif. native, will be called upon with regularity to be a key contributor in the Beavers efforts.
Alison Parisian will also push for significant playing time during her junior season after playing four matches in the top six singles line-up last year. Caroline Yu will see match time in the top six singles spot as she nudges herself into the line-up after a handful of matches at the No. 6 spot in 2011.
Adding to the team depth will be a pair of first year players. Michelle Lee has performed well during preseason challenges matches and has the ability to play consistently among the top six singles players. Rebecca Hu has also played solidly during her initial season in the collegiate game.
The Beavers start SCIAC play on Feb. 18 when they travel to Cal Lutheran. Caltech is scheduled to play four teams ranked in the preseason national rankings.
"The coaching staff is working tremendously hard to prepare the team to match up against the truly outstanding players in our conference. We have already accomplished a lot this year under the leadership of team manager Cathy Dong, and collectively we are learning how to incorporate each team member to help us achieve our vision," Gamble said.