After an abbreviated 2020 season, the Utes are more excited than ever to resume matches in 2021. During the short-lived season of 2020, the Utes went 10-5, went 8-0 against Mountain Region opponents, and reached a season-high ranking of No. 44 in the nation.
Ric Mortera led the Utes to a 5-0 start in his first season with the program in 2020, which was the best since the 1983-84 campaign. The 2020 season was highlighted by an upset against the No. 33-ranked Denver Pioneers, and the program's 11th-straight victory against in-state rival BYU. Mortera led Madison Tattini and Whitney Hekking to a No. 12 final ranking in the ITA/Oracle doubles poll, just shy of All-American honors, after holding a 12-1 record. It was the highest for a Utes' double team since the 1992 season.
Mortera returns all but one Ute in the starting six for the 2021 season. Tattini was a starter for No.1 position all year for both doubles and singles. She won 12-straight double matches to begin the season. Emily Dush held the team's highest overall record for singles (9-2) playing primarily in No. 4 position and had 8-of-9 singles wins coming in straight sets.
Along with Tattini and Dush, Utah also has four other returning juniors. Heading into her second season with the Utes, Madeline Lamoreaux finished a successful 2020 season playing at No. 2 position for singles and doubles with partner Dush. Anya Lamoreaux finished the season playing the No. 6 position for singles. Lindsay Hung played at No. 4 and No. 5 positions for singles, and finished the 2020 season with partner Anya Lamoreaux at No. 3 position for doubles. Jasmine Rich also returns.
For the upcoming season, the Utes welcome Anastasia Goncharova, who transferred from UC Santa Barbara. Goncharova helped the team achieve a top-50 national team ranking during the 2020 season. She played at the No. 1 doubles position during her sophomore season and posted notable doubles wins over San Diego, Nebraska, USC and Miami.
Ric Mortera is entering his second season as the head coach of the Utah women's tennis program in 2020-21.
Though his first season at the helm of the program was shortened due to COVID-19, Mortera led the young Utah squad to the best start to a season since the 1983-84 campaign with a 5-0 record. Mortera led the team to finish 12-5 in dual play before the season was canceled. Utah went 8-0 against Mountain Region opponents. The Utes reached a season-high ranking of No. 44 in the nation.
Mortera guided Madison Tattini and Whitney Hekking to achieve a final ranking of No. 12 in the ITA/Oracle doubles poll, just missing out on All-American honors. The No. 12 ranking is the highest rank by a pair of Utes in the final poll since the 1992 season.
The revived energy in the program headed by Mortera saw multiple Utes advance their games over the course of the year. Hekking was named the ITA Mountain Region's Most Improved Senior. Despite not being able to finish the season, Mortera's group managed to finish the semester strong academically, breaking the all-time department team GPA in a semester. All nine student-athletes made the Athletic Director's Honor Roll, while seven made the Dean's List to combine for a school-record 3.894 team GPA.
Mortera was hired on June 28, 2019 after spending one year as Fresno State's women's tennis head coach and three years as a highly successful assistant coach at Texas Tech.
The Bulldogs won nine dual matches with three student-athletes earning All-Mountain West honors in 2018-19. During his time at Texas Tech, the Lady Raiders went 73-17 for the best three-year winning percentage (.811) in program history while six athletes captured All-Big 12 singles honors. Texas Tech made the NCAA Tournament all three years that Mortera was on staff, advancing to at least the Sweet 16 each time.
Mortera was named Wilson/ITA Texas Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017 with his final season being the best in program history. They finished the season ranked No. 7 in the Oracle/ITA rankings, made their first-ever NCAA Elite Eight appearance, produced a program-high 27 wins, and won the first Big 12 regular-season and tournament championships in program history.
Prior to his stint at Texas Tech, Mortera was an assistant coach at Illinois (2014) and Purdue (2013). At Illinois, he saw the Fighting Illini hold a No. 45 ITA ranking, notching upsets over No. 25 TCU and No. 29 Oklahoma State with four student-athletes being honored by the Big Ten through all-academic, all-conference and sportsmanship award selections. While at Purdue, the Boilermakers reached a program-high No. 14 in the ITA rankings as they advanced to the NCAA Tournament round of 32 with a program-best 18 dual wins that season.
Mortera got his start in collegiate coaching as a volunteer assistant at Illinois for two seasons (2011-12), also working on the Women's Tennis Association Tour where he coached former United States Fed Cup player Alexa Glatch and 2009 Orange Bowl champion Julia Boserup. He helped Glatch reach the U.S. Open and Wimbledon main draws, and Boserup achieve a career-high ranking of No. 174.
The Portland, Ore., native was a four-year letter winner at Oregon. He graduated in 2010 with degrees in both economics and political science after ranking as high as No. 45 in the ITA his senior season while also receiving a master's in sport management from Texas Tech in 2018.
Blair Shankle, a three-time All-American at Baylor, is in her first season as an assistant coach with the Utes. Shankle previously worked as an assistant coach for two seasons at Ole Miss and as a student coach at Baylor while completing her master's degree in accounting.
In 2020 at Ole Miss, Shankle helped lead the team to a No. 24 ranking in the ITA/Oracle poll. The Rebels had two singles players ranked as well as two doubles teams. During her first year in Oxford, Shankle helped guide senior Tea Jandric to the ITA Southern Region's Most Improved Senior, as well as garnering an All-SEC Second Team recognition.
As a player at Baylor, the Dallas native ended her career ranking third in school history in doubles wins (99), tied for fourth in singles winning percentage (.826), sixth in singles wins (109) and seventh in doubles winning percentage (.733). Shankle achieved a high ranking of No. 3 in the ITA/Oracle singles poll, which was the highest in school history. She helped lead the Bears to four straight NCAA appearances, including an Elite Eight showing in 2015. The Bears also collected both the Big 12 regular season and tournament championships in two of her four seasons.
Shankle was an ITA Doubles All-American in 2014 and 2015 after reaching the quarterfinal rounds at the NCAA Doubles Championships both seasons. She then closed out her career as a 2017 ITA Singles All-American after advancing to the Round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. Shankle earned All-Big 12 honors in both singles and doubles from 2015-17. As a senior, she was the recipient of the ITA Most Improved Senior award as the regional and national winner.
Backing up her tremendous success on the court, Shankle was a four-time ITA Scholar-Athlete and three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection. In 2017, Shankle was a CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team honoree. She was the first person in program history to be named both an All-American on the court and in the classroom.