The 2017-18 tennis season cannot get here quick enough.
This year's edition of the Banana Slugs features the right mix of experience and youth. To complement the seven returning racqueteers, UC Santa Cruz welcomes its most anticipated group of freshmen in years. The 2017 incoming class of freshmen was rated 20th in the nation by Tennisrecruiting.net.
Coach Amy Jensen is hopeful the mix of youth and experience sparks a renaissance for the program going into the season-opening Intercollegiate Tennis Association regional tourney in Claremont.
"We can all hardly wait to welcome our new Slugs to campus and get to work. The caliber of these Slugs is a great sign for the future of our program. Our stunning campus, our 12 beautiful ocean view tennis courts, our amazing UC academics, and the promise of a nationally competitive Division III experience ... is a combination that's hard to resist!"
"I'm so thrilled with this enthusiastic and passionate recruiting class," Jensen continued. "These young women are ideal candidates for "The Slug Life" - they are wonderful humans ... and they excel in the classroom and on the courts!
The freshmen are truly a diverse group hailing from sea to shining sea. Savannah Hammick was the No. 2 ranked juniors player in Alabama before moving to California five years ago. Kayla Manz hails from Hawai'i, Manz is also an aspiring filmmaker, with a documentary she directed making into the Hawaii Women in Film festival. Isabelle Brown was a state champion in Arizona.
There is also some local flavor in the group. Savana McDowell comes from just down the road in Pacific Grove, where she was a back-to-back Mission Trail Athletic League Champion. Ashley Isaac hails from the Sacramento area. Both of them have the game in their blood as they were coached by their parents in high school.
The last three freshmen hail from southern California and participated in the Southern Section Playoffs. Therese Recidoro helped pace her high school to their first-ever Section championship appearance. Vivian Lee from San Diego was part of a League Championship. Valley girl Lauren Sandifer played for noted program Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks. She was MVP in both Singles and Doubles, and the Knights made CIF semis the last year she was there.
"I am also stoked to have attracted strong talent from all over California, as well as Arizona and Hawaii," Jensen said. "For the 2018/19 class I'm also seeing strong interest in UCSC from the Midwest and also the south, and even Canada and Australia."
THE 2017 UCSC RECRUITING CLASS - IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Savannah Hammick - nickname is "Savvypova, after Sharapova"
Originally from Alabama, Played on Nor Cal team at Billie Jean King's World Team Tennis junior National meet.
Savana McDowell – "they call me the killer"
Therese Recidoro – "What I lack in height, I make up in tennis ability."
Ashley Isaac –"ready to be a new member of the Slug Cornucopia"
Isabelle Brown – "my backhand is a weapon - so don't give me any ammo."
Lauren Sandifer - "from SoCal .. ready for NorCal"
Vivian Lee - "I just love sports. It's been the best teacher and mentor in my life"