Dorny’s squad growing up

U women’s tennis coach Megan Dorny is now in her third season, yet last year was her first with a team she put together through recruiting.

In Dorny’s first full season as the team’s coach, many players quit and left the team after a tumultuous season.

But it’s not as if things dramatically changed last season.

In fact, the team did not improve at all in terms of where it finished in conference play at the end of the season.

The Utes had dreadful stretches last year where they lost as many as 10-straight matches. The team finished 8-18 and last in conference play in the regular-season standings.

All signs pointed to the Utes finishing in last place at the Mountain West Conference tournament after a 4-0 loss to BYU.

But in the backdraw, the Utes pulled out a match against Wyoming, 4-2.

The win was surprising, considering it was the team’s second win in 15 matches.

Utah got great play out of Sheri Esrock, Jenessa Jackson and Jessica Watts in the win.

But the Utes returned to usual form against Colorado State, as they lost 4-2 and finished sixth in the conference just as they did the year before.

The question is, with another year of experience, does Dorny’s team get any better?

The team will have to replace Esrock, who graduated, which will be a difficult task.

Esrock was not only the No. 1 singles player this past year, but she was also the rock on the team in Dorny’s first year.

She was one of the only consistent performers on a team plagued with inconsistency.

So how can the Utes replace her?

Even though the team finished in the same position as it did a year before, Dorny has clearly done a solid job of putting a young core group together, who could possibly improve a team that has been mired in a state of mediocrity for a long time.

Utah has freshmen and sophomores returning to the team, who have a great experience along with great potential.

Watts, Jackson, Cinthia Saucedo, Ashley Young and Whitney Eber are the underclassmen returning to the team.

The only senior left is Allison Hansen, who is the only remnant left from former U head coach John Tsumas’ team.

The main question for the team will be to see who emerges as the No. 1 singles player.

The No. 2 singles player last season was Eber, so the logical answer would suggest that she would take over the top position, but the vast improvements the players have the ability to make leaves that question wide open.

In the end, Dorny’s team is growing up and her core group is set in place, but now everyone will see if the team really improves.

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