For the past two years, juniors Veronika Miroshnichenko and Eva Marie Voracek have been a formidable doubles pair for the Lions — but this season, they’re looking to find success with different partners.
Miroshnichenko and Voracek had outstanding freshman and sophomore years, both individually and together in doubles. The duo dominated their freshman year, making it to the NCAA tournament’s Round of 16, and last year they led the team to its first-ever national top 50 ranking.
“Veronika and I had an amazing two years and played really well,” Voracek noted. “[Coach Moreno] changed the lineup a bit [this season] just so all the doubles are equally strong, so that’s why we got split up, but I think it worked out pretty well. We’ve got three pretty strong doubles right now.”
The duo played with their new partners in this past weekend’s ITA Kickoff weekend tournament at UCLA. Miroshnichenko was paired with freshman Katerina Filip, while Voracek partnered with fellow junior Yesica de Lucas. Both Voracek and Miroshnichenko feel confident about their new doubles pairings going into the season.
“I think that the team is in a good place right now,” said Miroshnichenko. “We’ve been working harder and harder, and there’s definitely good chemistry between everybody.”
“Kat and Veronika are playing really [well] together … they have a good chemistry on the court, I feel like that’s going to be a good doubles team,” Voracek added. “Me and Yesica have a good connection, we’ve been living together since our freshman year so we understand each other pretty well.”
The Lions had a solid winning season last year, going 11-10 overall, but ultimately fell to Pepperdine in the WCC semifinals. Miroshnichenko and Voracek are proud of the team’s effort, but have big hopes and expectations for this season.
“Definitely one of the main goals is just to get into the NCAAs as a team … that’s where everybody wants to end up,” said Miroshnichenko. “And we want to win the conference tournament as well, and beat our main rivals, Pepperdine.”
Winning the WCC is no easy task, but Voracek and Miroshnichenko believe the team is more than capable. LMU swept Gonzaga 4-0 in the ITA tournament on Friday, a good sign for the Lions’ hopes to dominate in the conference this year.
“It’s going to take everyone [to win the WCC championship],” Miroshnichenko remarked. “It’s going to take everyone’s best games and effort, and belief that we can do it.”
“I think if we get in there strong and kind of surprise [Pepperdine], and take the doubles point right away, then we have a pretty good chance to beat them in singles,” said Voracek. “If we keep playing the way we are right now, we have pretty good chances.”
With the season officially starting this week, Miroshnichenko and Voracek couldn’t be more excited and confident about what their team is capable of.
“We’re all playing pretty well … even in practice we feel like anybody could beat anybody,” said Voracek. “We have a good team spirit so I think once we’re out there we’ll support each other really well.”
The Lions play their first home match this Friday at 1:00p.m. against the University of Oregon.