LOGAN, Utah - Utah State women's tennis head coach Sean McInerney announced three Aggies will join the squad for the 2017-18 season. Alexandra (Sasha) Pisareva, Rhoda Tanui and Alex Taylor will join USU's program that has won at least 10 matches in four-consecutive seasons.
“We are extremely excited about this recruiting class," McInerney said. "I feel it is my best overall recruiting class since I have been at Utah State, and the potential of each of these players is going to be exciting to maximize. I am looking forward to them to getting to campus so we can start working together.”
Pisareva will join the Aggies in the fall and boasts a 9.72 Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) coming out of Kyiv, Ukraine.
“Utah State has a very strong team and a very good coach," Pisareva said. "I was also very impressed with the academics and the support staff. Utah will provide a very comfortable climate and the campus is amazing.”
Pisareva believes her style of play will be a welcome addition to the Aggies.
“I always try and attack," she said. "I feel I have a very aggressive style so I am always looking for a way to finish the point.”
Off the court, Pisareva is planning on studying either health sciences or marketing.
Joining Pisareva next fall, Tanui owns a 9.41 UTR after going 11-0 this spring at State College, a junior college in Florida. Tanui hails from Bradenton, Fla.
“We are very excited to be added Rhoda to our program," McInerney said. She is a very hardworking, good athlete and competitor, and she fits the mold of what we are looking for in a student-athlete. She has a great all-around game and will bring a wealth of college experience to Utah State. Rhoda is going to make an immediate impact on our program."
Tanui said she found Utah State to be exactly what she was looking for as she was ready to transfer out of junior college.
“Utah State was the best fit for me and what I was looking for," Tanui said. "When I spoke with Coach McInerney, he told me what he expects from his players and what he values most and I was sold on Utah State University. Our coach and player expectations seemed to mirror each other's very well."
Tanui is currently ranked as the No. 19 singles player in junior college by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association during her undefeated spring season.
“I am a fighter. I grind until the very last point," she said. "I tend to be patient and work my opponents over. I wait until the right moment to go for the big shot.”
Another reason Tanui is excited to play for the Aggies is her already strong relationship with McInerney.
“Having not officially met face to face, I feel as if we already know each other very well," Tanui said. "We communicate regularly, and I feel as if he is very receptive and gets back to me if I need anything. He is always readily available to answer any questions I may have.”
When she reaches Utah State, Tanui plans to study business and finance.
Lastly, the Aggies will bring in a transfer from a Power 5 program, as Taylor will join the squad after a year at Arizona. Last season, Taylor was forced to sit due to injuries.
“Alex is probably the most talented player I have ever brought into one of my programs," McInerney said. "She has had some tough luck to start off her college career but I feel like she is going to maximize this second opportunity and make a huge impact on our program. She is a high level athlete with a big game and we are looking forward to being a major part of her development.”
Taylor, a native of Sydney, Australia, describes herself as an aggressive player, matching McInerney's description of her having "a big game."
“I am a very aggressive player," Taylor said. "I work my serve in order to set up the point. I play aggressive from both the baseline and at the net, which helps a lot with doubles. I also love competition!”
Taylor was ranked as high as No. 78 in Australia as a prep player, and No. 13 in her age group. In 2015, she played at the No. 1 spot for the U-18 Australian team and played for the NSW state team that won the National Championship in 2015. In tournaments, Taylor won three Australian Money Gold and Platinum doubles tournaments.
“I chose Utah State because of the environment that surrounds athletics," she said. "I have a great relationship with coach McInerney and I can’t wait for it to only grow throughout my collegiate career. I know that there are great opportunities both academically and athletically at USU which also helped in my decision.”
Like Tanui, Taylor already feels she has a good connection with Utah State's coaching staff.
“I feel I have a very strong bond with Coach McInerney, and I can’t wait for it to grow both on and off the court!" Taylor said.
In the classroom, Taylor will plan on studying marketing at Utah State.
Fans can follow USU's women's tennis team on Twitter @USUWomensTennis, on Facebook at UtahStateWomensTennis or on Instagram @USUWTennis. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter at @USUAthletics, on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on Instagram at @USUAthletics.
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