On Friday afternoon, the University of Virginia women's tennis team suspended five players for violation of team rules. The athletes are seniors Maci Epstein and Skylar Morton, junior Victoria Olivarez, sophomore Cassie Mercer, and freshman Meghan Kelley.
UVa suspends women's tennis players Maci Epstein, Skylar Morton, Victoria Olivarez, Cassie Mercer, & Meghan Kelly for violating team rules.— NBC29 (@NBC29) January 29, 2016
The news comes just hours before the team faces South Carolina. No word was immediately forthcoming from the athletic department with specifics. The brief statement indicated that the players would remain suspended until reinstated by head coach Mark Guilbeau.
Morton, Olivarez, and Kelley are the three biggest losses from a competitive standpoint. They represent Virginia's players at the 3, 5, and 6 singles slots, and are each one half of the Hoos' three doubles pairings.
With only five players on the roster, Virginia will start every match down one doubles pairing, meaning they will have to sweep the other two to win the doubles point. They will also start down one singles match, putting them in an automatic 1-0 hole for each match.
The Hoos swept BYU and Columbia in competition last weekend, securing their spot in the ITA National Team Indoors that begins February 5. The duel-match season continues Monday, February 15 with a home match against Alabama.