April 20, 2011
NACOGDOCHES, Texas -
The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack tennis team has signed Malena Gordo (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Elena Kordolaimi (Lamia, Greece), and Nataly Yoo (Buenos Aires, Argentina) to National Letters of Intent head coach Patrick Sullivan announced Wednesday afternoon.
The signing class strengthens a roster that loses two seniors from the 2011 squad that set a program record for wins and winning percentage. It also became the first SFA team in program history to receive a national ranking.
"I am very pleased to be adding three quality student-athletes to our lineup," said Sullivan. "Each one of these young ladies is very accomplished, and brings a high-level of competitiveness to our roster. They each have varying strengths that, in addition to our returners, will help get our program to the next level."
Gordo comes to Nacogdoches as one of the top-ranked junior players in the world according to the ITF junior rankings (34th). She has had success competing in the U.S. and French Opens.
"Malena's ability is only exceeded by her work ethic and character," said Sullivan. "She has a lot of international experience and has represented her country at the highest levels, so she knows how to handle the big stage. She may very well be the top-ranked international junior player to come play college tennis this year. As talented as she is, I'm even more excited about the leadership she brings to our team."
Kordolaimi is one of the top-ranked players from Greece. Formerly the country's top-ranked player, Kordolaimi is an immediate impact player added to a Ladyjack roster who will be losing its No. 1 singles and doubles' player following the 2012 season.
"Elena was the top-rated junior player in Greece until age 16, due in large part to the fact that she was serving over 100 miles per hour," said Sullivan. "She is a tall, strong player with aspirations of playing on the pro tour. She has the physique and talent to make those dreams a reality. Elena has been frustrated by some injuries, but is back in top form. We are very lucky to have signed her while she was still under the radar. I'm excited to get her over on the hard courts where she is going to be a force to be reckoned with."
Yoo is one of two players from Buenos Aires to sign with the Ladyjacks. She comes to Nacogdoches ranked as the No. 522 player in the WTA rankings, and is consistently ranked among Argentina's top 10.
"Nataly is another player I have been watching at tournaments for years," said Sullivan. "Just like me she has spent half her life in Houston and the other half in Buenos Aires. I believe that is one of the reasons we relate so well. Nataly's extensive international experience will give her a huge advantage in college tennis. She has a real passion for the game. I don't think I have ever recruited anyone who has played more tournaments in more places than she has. I believe after all of the years spent on the road, she is going to flourish in a consistent environment with a great support system."
The record-setting 2011 squad enters the SLC Championships with a 19-4 record, and advanced to the conference championship tournament with its highest seed since the 2000 season.