ATLANTA--The No. 70-ranked Georgia State women's tennis team opens its 2013 spring season with a challenging match against No. 72 Syracuse at the Blackburn Tennis Center on Saturday.
The match was previously scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. at the Ken Byers Tennis Complex at Georgia Tech, but was rescheduled for 1 p.m. at the Blackburn Tennis Center on Saturday.
Georgia State, led by sixth-year head coach Miha Lisac, enters the season ranked (#70) in the ITA National Team rankings for the second-consecutive season. It is also the first season in school history the team enters the year with a nationally-ranked singles player and doubles pair while being ranked as a team as well.
The Panthers will be led this season by their No. 1 singles player Abigail Tere-Apisah. She enters the year ranked No. 29 in singles after earning All-American status last season. The junior from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea is coming off a successful fall against elite competition. She earned victories at the prestigious Riviera/ITA All-American Tournament, ITA Southeast Regional and the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships. In total, Tere-Apisah earned five victories against nationally-ranked opponents in the fall.
Senior Whitney Byrd and sophomore Masa Grgan will anchor the rest of the top half of the Panthers' singles lineup. Both are experienced winners that notched double-digit singles victories last season. Newcomers Linn Timmermann and Jocelyn Ffriend are expected to join sophomore Chaimaa Roudami to provide important depth to the singles lineup.
GSU leads its doubles lineup with the No. 19-ranked tandem of Tere-Apisah and Grgan. The two advanced to the finals at the ITA Southeast Regional, defeating two nationally-ranked duos in the process. Senior Maryna Kozachenko will step in as an important doubles player as the Panthers look to find consistency in their No. 2 and No. 3 pairings.
Syracuse enters Saturday's match ranked No. 72 in the ITA National Team rankings. The Orange (0-2) have battled a tough schedule to start the season with a 6-1 loss at No. 43 USF in the season opener and a narrow 4-3 loss at No. 20 Georgia Tech on Thursday. Leading the Orange is junior Maddie Kobelt at the top of the singles lineup. The meeting will be the first for Georgia State and Syracuse in a dual-match setting.
Live stats of Saturday's match will be available at the start of the match. Fans can also follow the Georgia State women's tennis team on Twitter at "@GSUWTennis" to receive live updates from the match. Check the women's tennis page on GeorgiaStateSports.com following the match for a full recap.