SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – With six returning players set to take the court for the upcoming spring campaign, the Cal Poly women's tennis team recently strengthened its roster with the announcement by first-year head coach Damon Coupe that junior competitors Sophia Bott (San Clemente, Calif. / San Clemente HS) and Louise Oxnevad (Queenstown, New Zealand / Te Kura Pounamu school) have each signed National Letters of Intent to join the program for the 2012-13 season.
"I'm very excited about my first recruiting class here at Cal Poly," said Coupe, who assumed duties in July. "I believe that Sophia and Louise will be able to contribute right away to our program and university. They are excellent students of the game and in the classroom. They will definitely help us continue the great tennis legacy we've enjoyed at Cal Poly."
A two-time South Coast League singles finalist at San Clemente HS, Bott (above) competed at the International School of Beaverton (Ore.) during the ninth and 10th grades and finished as the 2009 Oregon School Activities Association 6A singles state finalist before winning the state singles championship the following season. The former top-ranked singles player in the United States Tennis Association Pacific Northwest Section, Bott is currently ranked No. 16 in the Southern California Section in doubles and No. 27 in singles.
"Sophia's passion for the game and unrelenting work ethic will fit perfectly with our program," said Coupe of Bott, a three-time member of the Girls 18 Pacific Northwest National Team. "She loves to compete and be on the court fighting. Her spirit and personality are exactly what we are looking for in players at Cal Poly."
Having risen as high as the No. 3-ranked singles player in New Zealand, Oxnevad captured the doubles title and finished as the singles runner-up at the 2010 New Zealand Junior Championships. A member of the New Zealand Junior National Team, Oxnevad was a semifinalist at the June 2011 ITF Air Pacific South Pacific Open Junior Championships. Since the start of 2011, Oxnevad has reached the singles quarterfinal round of five separate ITF events.
"Louise is such a driven individual and has a passion for tennis and learning," said Coupe of Oxnevad, a nationally-ranked youth slalom and cross-country skier. "Louise has aspirations of playing top-level tennis and has the commitment to do so. We're really excited she chose to come to Cal Poly. Her international playing pedigree has provided her a wealth of experience and we expect great things from her."
As a team, Coupe welcomes back five regular singles and doubles players from last spring's squad that produced, arguably, the program's finest season at the Division I level. Powered by a program-record nine-match winning streak between Feb. 20 and April 2, Cal Poly reached as high as No. 36 in the ITA rankings en route to an at-large berth in the NCAA Championships. Cal Poly's seven Big West victories helped the Mustangs to a share of the conference regular season title while a further seven overall wins came against ranked opposition.
The Mustangs open the spring 2012 campaign at the three-day California Winter Invitational in Berkeley on Friday, Jan. 13.