Women’s tennis produces Top 25 recruiting class

Top 25 Rankings

Losing four-time Big West Conference Player of the Year Hannah Grady might not be a major blow if the latest 49er recruits pan out.

Long Beach State’s incoming class cracked the national Top 25, rated by a panel of experts at The 49ers own the No. 23 recruiting class in the country in the latest ranking, released after the spring signing period.

The 2009 class includes Jaklin Alawi, Anna Jeczmionka and Klaudia Malenovska. LBSU head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said she expects fierce competition for spots in the lineup.

“All three recruits have played at a high level in their own countries and internationally,” Hilt-Costello said. “They will give us a lot of depth throughout our line.”

Alawi, who hails from Sofia, Bulgaria, holds three ITF world junior singles titles and two world junior doubles crowns.

Jeczmionka, a native of Swarzedz, Poland, has reached five national tournament singles finals in Poland, winning one title. She also has won five doubles titles in Polish national-level tournaments.

Malenovska, who comes from Bratislava, Slovakia, was ranked as high as No. 54 in the ITF junior rankings and has played in Wimbledon and French Open junior championships.

The trio joins a young roster absent of seniors with the departures of Grady and doubles partner Jessica Weeks. Hilt-Costello said the possibility of having the entire team return the following season would allow the 49ers more time to develop team chemistry.

“We will have a young team next season but a very talented team,” she said. “Hopefully with two years together we can really develop the team and get a lot accomplished on the court.

“Doubles teams have a chance to potentially play two seasons together and the team as a whole can really bond and get comfortable with each other.”

The 49er recruits make up the first Big West class ever to receive national recognition.

The Beach ranks second behind No. 19 Pepperdine among schools that do not belong to one of the six BCS conferences or the Ivy League.

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