June 18, 2014
SPRINGFIELD - Missouri State women's tennis head coach Mallory Weber announced today (June 18) the addition of seven student-athletes for the 2014-15 campaign, the program's first since being reinstated to the intercollegiate athletics department last September. The group includes three freshmen and four transfers. Two student-athletes from the group - Abbey Belote (Parkview High) and Mackenzie Rozell (Kickapoo High) - have ties to Springfield.
"This is much bigger for me than just announcing our new freshmen," Weber said. "These girls are the cornerstones of this program and I couldn't be happier with this first class. They realize how unique of an opportunity they have to be a part of restarting a program. The mix of transfers and freshmen will make Missouri State tennis proud."
The women's tennis program, which dates back to 1971, was discontinued in 2006 as part of an Athletics restructuring initiative that saw the University decrease its total number of sports from 21 to 16. The program brings MSU's current intercollegiate offerings to 17, including 14 that compete in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Abbey Belote | Fr. | Springfield, Mo. | Parkview High
One of two local products who will suit up for the Bears, Belote is one of the area's most decorated young talents. The Parkview High graduate qualified for the MSHAA state tennis championships as a senior and was the Vikings' #1 player in singles and doubles as a junior and senior. She racked up a 77-10 individual record in high school, which included a 24-3 mark as a freshman at Glendale High. Belote was a two-time all-state pick, and earned all-conference and all-district accolades three times. As a senior, she earned singles championships at the conference, district, sectionals and regionals levels and went undefeated in Ozark Conference play.
Weber on Belote: "Like Mackenzie Rozell, it is great to have a local player of Abbey's talent here at Missouri State. Abbey is dedicated to this university and the passion that she has for Missouri State tennis is a characteristic that can't be taught. I look forward to seeing her compete this season."
Ekaterina Donetskova | So. | Samara, Russia | High School #155 (Southeast Missouri State)
Donetskova comes to Missouri State from Southeast Missouri State, where she competed for coach Leah Hottois as a freshman. The native of Russia posted the most doubles wins for the Redhawks in the 2013-14 season with a record of 9-13 and also gathered eight singles victories in her first season, which included a three-match winning streak at the No. 3 position. Donetskova was ranked as high as No. 3 in the Ohio Valley Conference last season, and previously was ranked as high as No. 29 in Russia in 2009. She was a two-time winner of the singles title at the Samara Championship and was crowned the National Russian Tournament under-16 singles champion in 2008.
Weber on Donetskova: "Ekaterina gained valuable experience playing high in the lineup for SEMO this past year as a true freshman. She has many skills as a tennis player, one of which is raw power. I am excited to coach her and help her reach her maximum potential."
Rebecca McIsaac | Fr. | Belleville, Ill. | Belleville East High
McIsaac qualified for the Illinois State High School doubles tournament, which included 128 total doubles teams. She comes from a strong tennis family, as her grandparents own a tennis club in O'Fallon, Ill., and she is related to Women's Tennis Association professional Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Weber on McIsaac: "It means a lot to me to be able to recruit a player from my hometown of Belleville, Ill. Rebecca had a strong career at Belleville East and was respected by her teammates. Rebecca will be a walk-on, and her success in doubles at the high school level was impressive. I am excited to see how her game grows during her time here."
Ledis Molina | Fr. | La Libertad, El Salvador | Maxper High
A native of El Salvador, Molina played her prep career at Maxper High School in Antiguo Cuscatlan in La Libertad. Molina notched a career high Junior International Tennis Federation ranking of 726, and won a combined 29 matches in ITF Juniors singles and doubles play. She advanced to the round of 16 in the IV Arabe International Cup in Honduras, and moved on to the quarterfinals in doubles at the same event. Molina also made it to the round of 16 of singles and the quarterfinals in doubles at the Honduras Junior Bowl.
Weber on Molina: "Ledis has gained valuable experience playing in ITF junior tournaments throughout Central America. Her experience traveling and playing in many tournaments should make her transition to college smoother. She has a great attitude on and off and the court and I look forward to what she will bring to our team this season."
Miranda Poile | Jr. | Deniliquin N.S.W., Australia | Box Hill Senior College High (Texas-San Antonio)
Poile joins the Bears after spending the first two years of her collegiate career at Texas-San Antonio, where she was mentored by Weber. The native of Australia competed in singles at UTSA, and was a Western Athletic Conference All-Academic honoree as a freshman in 2012-13. Poile won four singles matches in her first season - including the first three of her career - with one of those wins coming over Kelsey Reblin from No. 29 Incarnate Word.
Weber on Poile: "Miranda will bring a lot of energy and experience to this team. She is a gritty player who leaves everything she has on the court in every match. With the hard work she has put in throughout her years at UTSA and this summer, I see her being an asset to this team right away."
Mackenzie Rozell | So. | Springfield, Mo. | Kickapoo High (University of Montana)
A product of Springfield Kickapoo, Rozell comes to Missouri State after spending two seasons at the University of Montana. After redshirting in 2012-13, Rozell took the court for the Grizzlies during the fall slate in 2013. She notched a 2-6 record as a redshirt freshman, which included a 6-3, 6-1 singles victory over Weber State's Annika Karlsen and a 6-1, 6-1 win over Jessica Stokes from Cal State Stanislaus. A 2012 Kickapoo graduate, Rozell teamed up with her older sister, Carlee, to win the 2009 Missouri Class 2 state doubles title. She was a member of Kickapoo's state runner-up team in 2008 and played on two conference and district championship teams. Additionally, she was ranked in the top 20 in the ITA Missouri Valley district.
Weber on Rozell: "Mackenzie is a determined player who has a great work ethic. I'm excited to have the opportunity to coach her. It means a lot to our program to have a local player of Mackenzie's talent on our team."
Ema Turudija | Jr. | Belgrade, Serbia | Sports High (Louisiana-Monroe)
Turudija is a transfer from Louisiana-Monroe, where she was one of ULM's top competitors from 2011-13. The native of Belgrade, Serbia finished her freshman spring campaign with an 11-2 record in singles, which included a 4-0 mark in Sun Belt play and wins in the first 10 matches of her career. Turudija also enjoyed a 12-3 record in doubles in her first season, when she teamed with Vivian Polok to rack up 10 victories in their last 11 outings. As a sophomore, she went 8-4 in singles and 8-2 doubles, and was ranked at No. 75 in the ITA National Team Rankings in Feb. 2013. Prior to starting her collegiate career, Turudija was a member of the Tenis-Tenis Club where she played under coach Veljko Radojicic, and was a two-time semifinalist in the Serbian Junior National Championships in 2009 and 2010.
Weber on Turudija: "Ema had an outstanding freshman year at ULM, so I know that she has the potential to really help us with both singles and doubles. With her being a junior this year, her college tennis experience is valuable and she will be looked up to as a leader on this team."