North Carolina State's women's tennis may have always had a strong program, but, in 2017, they're marking history within the record books by posting their highest ITA team ranking to date. In the Feb. 21 rankings, NC State held a No. 16 ranking after their efforts over teams like currently ranked No. 18 Arkansas and No. 37 William and Mary.
Although their fierce schedule has produced some tough losses recently, the Wolfpack's team makeup is sure that this year still has incredible potential.
Currently No. 35, NC State is competing against some top teams and building their confidence slowly but surely.
Head coach Simon Earnshaw is already seeing progression from this year compared to last season, and he notes that their ITA rankings are sure signs of this progress.
"If we're 16 at the end of the year, then it really shows something," Earnshaw said.
Earnshaw (pictured left, courtesy of NCSU Athletics) is focused on improving small aspects of each player's game to ensure they can keep the momentum from this point forward. They're already being more competitive against the toughest of teams, and that's his main focus, as it will move then one step closer towards the final matches in May.
"It's been a long process," Earnshaw says regarding the experience of the team. Although they are made up of one senior, one junior, three sophomores, and two freshman, Earnshaw recognizes that the team's confidence this year compared to last is so apparent.
With a complete mindset shift and revamp of culture, the Pack are using their spot among the rankings as encouragement that their dedication and hard work is truly paying off. Senior and number one singles player Martina Frantova plays atop the lineup and continues to improve even this late in the game.
Her coach said she's hitting one of the best forehands in college tennis and utilizing her big shots well. And, both of the freshman are playing towards the top of the lineup — a true testament to their learning process and early development.
The team of seven women are completely focused on each match ahead and aren't under or over estimating anyone. Now 9-6 overall and looking ahead to ACC rival UVA on 3/17, the Wolfpack are more than ready to continue holding their place among the top teams in the country and working hard to make that happen.
"We're playing for the name on our shirt, not against the other team," Earnshaw said.