Sept. 9, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With the start of the 2009-10 women's tennis season just a few weeks away, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the team's chances this year. Two of those reasons are Michelle Murphy and Sofia Novak. In the first preseason rankings, the Gauchos No. 1 doubles team is ranked 41st in the nation and has head coach Pete Kirkwood anticipating a promising campaign.
"Obviously it's exciting to be back on the radar screen," Kirkwood said. "They could have had a way bigger year (2009) if they were teamed up from the beginning, but we were tinkering with the team. They are both super competitive and hate to lose. They both have great returns and can hold serve."
Even though Novak and Murphy did not start the 2008-09 season together, they quickly learned how to play together and finished with a strong record of 12-1, landing the duo Second Team Big West Honors. The team's only loss was suffered early in the year, and they bounced back nicely, earning the strong national ranking heading into the upcoming season.
Murphy is a junior transfer from Michigan State, and made the most of her first year as a Gaucho. Along with her doubles success, she also made Second Team Big West for her individual play, with most of her matches coming from the #1 position. She finished the season with a record of 10-10 in dual match play.
Novak is entering her sophomore year at UCSB, after a solid freshman season. Novak earned an honorable mention after finishing the season 16-4, which was the team high for wins.