The defending National Champions kicked off the 2008-2009 campaign in impression fashion at the ITA Regional held at Central Florida Community College in Ocala. Top seed Olivia Howlett reached the finals where she met teammate and doubles partner Nadzeya Bondar, seeded fourth. Howlett defeated Bondar 4-6, 6-3, 6-1. She joins Hiroko Nishikawa (2006) and Nachell Proctor (2007) in taking the singles title for three consecutive years.
In doubles, Howlett and Bondar teamed up as the top seed and defeated fourth seeded from Florida Community College-Jacksonville, Alex Glebova and Jessica McAtee in the finals. The pair overcame a 4-7 deficit to win the finals in dramatic fashion 9-8. Coach Chad Berryhill said following the match, “I give a lot of credit to the girls from Jacksonville. They are a headache to play and we were lucky to come out on top. I was just happy our girls kept fighting because this was the first weekend they ever played together.” Howlett and Bondar will now travel to the ITA Small College Championships October 16-19th held in Mobile, Alabama. The Hawks have been successful advancing to the Small College Championships winning the doubles National Championship in 2005 and 2006 while placing third in 2007.
Also finding success over the weekend was Katy Zaleski, the flight A back draw winner who defeated teammate Courtney Spafford in the final as well as Jasmyne Smith who won the flight B back draw over teammate Paige Palinkas. Katy Zaleski is a returning player from the 2008 National Champion team.
The Hawks next tournament test will take place at the C.L. Varner Memorial Tournament October 10-12th hosted by Rollins College in Winter Park.