Utah features a new head coach in Ric Mortera as well as a talented nucleus of players who return from a team that finished in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association top 50 in 2019.
The Utes went 13-11 overall and 3-7 in Pac-12 play, ranking as high as No. 38 nationally in March and finishing 44th. It’s the first time Utah was ranked in the final ITA poll in three years. The Utes were also ranked in the top five of the ITA Mountain Region for the fifth straight year, coming in at No. 2.
Utah’s doubles duo of departing senior Brianna Chisholm and rising sophomore Madison Tattini concluded their season ranked No. 51 nationally. Tattini and Chisholm wrapped up a successful season with a 10-5 dual record, including 4-1 in conference play and 3-2 against ranked opponents.
Chisholm, who played No. 1 singles, earned Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention and was named the 2019 Pac-12 Women’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Tattini, the Utes’ No. 2 single player, was named the ITA Mountain Region Rookie of the Year. She won her first six matches in the fall and finished with 20 victories, including three in conference play and one in the Pac-12 Tournament.
Rising senior Whitney Hekking earned Pac-12 All-Academic second-team honors for the second straight year. She compiled 11 singles wins in dual matches at the No. 5 position. Rising junior Leah Heimuli earned Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention. She played at the No. 6 singles position last season.
Two rising sophomores will look to build off solid 2019 seasons. Emily Dush had a 10-12 dual meet record while playing primarily at No. 3 singles. Dush was a four-star recruit ranked in the top 75 in the nation. Lindsay Hung went 9-7 while competing mostly at No. 4 singles. Hung, a five-star recruit, was ranked in the top 40 in the nation and a high school All-American.
Two other rising sophomores will look to get more playing time in the coming year. Anya Lamoreaux, a four-start recruit, was ranked as the No. 26 player coming out of the Southwest region. Jasmine Rich played in just two matches last season after redshirting her first year at Utah in 2017-18.
The Utes won the ITA Community Service Award for the second year in a row in 2019.
Ric Mortera is in his first year as the head coach of the Utahwomen’s tennis program.
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.
Janet Koch, a native of Durbanville, South Africa, enters her first season with the Utah women’s tennis program. She comes to Utah following an illustrious career at the University of Kansas.
A member of the ITA’s No. 5-ranked doubles team at the end of 2019 season, Koch garnered First Team All-American honors and was selected to the All-Big 12 Doubles First Team. While playing with Nina Khmelnitchaia, the duo recorded a 26-6 overall record and reached the Round of 16 in the 2019 NCAA Doubles Championship.
Koch was the No. 2 singles player for the Jayhawks as a senior and finished the 2019 season ranked as the No. 105 singles player in the nation. Koch was crowned the singles champion at the ITA Regional Championships in October 2018 to highlight her singles career. She was a starter all four years and helped take Kansas to the NCAA Championships three times.
Prior to college, Koch coached at Edge Tennis Academy from 2010-14 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where she trained players ranging from beginners (age 10) to elite level players (age 25). Koch also assisted with the KU tennis camps.
Koch graduated with a degree in business management from Kansas in May of 2019 and was named to the All-Academic Big 12 First Team her senior year. She served on the KU Student Athlete Advisory Committee.