Feb. 7, 2020. Anne-Sophie Courteau prepares to return a shot during a match vs Buffalo.

Feb. 7, 2020. Anne-Sophie Courteau prepares to return a shot during a match vs Buffalo.

This season, the West Virginia University tennis team returned three key contributors from last year's squad, and this year they are trying to lead a young team through a tough schedule. 

Senior Anne-Sophie Courteau and juniors Nicole Roc and Anastasia Bovolskaia are the only returners from last year's team. With such a young team this year, these three have been counted on to provide not just leadership to their teammates but to help lead the program toward success. 

All three of them have competed in the Big 12 before and have had success during conference play. Last season, even though it was shortened, Roc defeated two top players in the conference on teams who were ranked inside the top 30 nationally. In 2019, Bovolskaia and Courteau each had 30-win seasons, the only two on the team to do so. 

Due to their recent success, head coach Miha Lisac knows he can count on them and that the rest of the team counts on them as well. 

“Anne-Sophie, Nicole and Anastasia are the three that I believe provide that anchor within the team in making sure we are all moving in the right direction,” Lisac said. 

With that being said, those three have been counted on the most this spring. This past weekend when the Mountaineers traveled to Texas for a two-match road trip, the Mountaineers counted on Bovolskaia in the No. 1 spot for singles, as well as matching Bovolskaia and Roc with freshmen in doubles pairs. 

“As you noted we have a very well versed team this year,” Lisac said. “We have three returners that all have extensive experience already. They have all played a lot of tennis outside of conference but especially in the Big 12 conference. All of them have had some success in the Big 12 conference, but most importantly they bring experience and leadership in, understanding and helping the younger crew come along.”

Earlier in the season, the Mountaineers were trailing VCU 3-2, with two singles matches remaining. The two Mountaineers that still had yet to play were Courteau and Roc. 

Roc flexed her muscle as she beat her opponent in straight sets to tie things up at 3-3. Next came Courteau, who was down early but did not let that stop her from making a comeback to defeat her opponent in three sets (4-6, 6-4, 6-4).

This type of leadership and experience is what the Mountaineers hope to gain from these three. They hope to teach the three freshmen on the team what it is like to play a Big 12 schedule and what it is like to compete collegiately at a high level and set this program up for the future.

Born in Bowie, Maryland, and attending WVU studying journalism and sports communication. I work with the DA sports section as well as have my own YouTube channel CoreFourSports.