K-State Tennis Begins New Era

Boasting a group that consists of just one senior among six sophomores and two freshmen, Steinberg describes her group as "a unique combination of talent and personality."
K-State tennis tips off its 2014 fall season at the OU Fall Invite in Norman, Oklahoma, next week and, while Steinberg and assistant coach Mark Denenfeld have been working hard in practices with each of their players, nothing will be a better indicator as to where the team is at than at their first - and Steinberg's first as head coach - matches. 
"We want to see them play," Steinberg explained. "It's one thing in practice but we obviously want to see them compete. I think as coaches we know what we want to work on and develop, but we want to see them compete before we can say, 'Okay, this is what Maria needs to do or what Amina needs to do.'"
The team's lone senior, Amina St. Hill will be looked to on the court this year as a leader. Last season during her junior campaign, the Gothenburg, Sweden, native finished the year with a singles record of 16-13 - a career best. She notched a 10-7 record during the spring of 2014 including a 5-4 mark in Big 12 play, and, as the most experienced K-State player on the roster, St. Hill has been a help to Steinberg since the coach took over the program this summer.
"Amina, she's great," began Steinberg. "Not only is she a senior, she's been here, but she's mature and just her personality in general - we say that she's the glue of the team. She brings people together and takes care of the girls, and regardless of the fact that she's older and she's been here, that's just her personality; she's always very positive and ready to work."
Though she's new to the program, Steinberg said sophomore transfer Sara Castellano of Carmagnola, Italy, will also be looked to as a game changer on the courts this season. 
"Sara is a leader, she's going to make an impact right away," said Steinberg. "She has an outgoing personality and has leadership qualities. That's good for this team."
Castellano comes to K-State after playing one season at McNeese State where she was named Freshman of the Year by both the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) and the Southland Conference after stellar 2013-14 season.  As a freshman playing in the Cowgirl's No. 2 spot, Castellano recorded an 18-3 mark (12-0 in Southland Conference matches) during her single season at McNeese State. 
"She's going to come in and make an immediate impact," continued Steinberg on Castellano.
The OU Fall Invite begins on Friday, Sept. 19 in Norman, Oklahoma, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 21. Though it is a competitive tournament for the young group of Wildcats to start off with - also competing in the OU Fall Invite will be Big 12 opponents: Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Kansas and Oklahoma State - Steinberg is ready to see her team in action.
"We're excited to see them play," she said. "I don't know if it'll be pretty right away, but that's OK because we play at OU, then we'll have two weeks of work, then we'll play three tournaments in a row in three weekends."
Following the OU Fall Invite, K-State tennis will travel to the ITA Regional Championships taking place in Stillwater, Oklahoma, from October 16-19. For the complete K-State tennis 2014-15 schedule, click here

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