Head women’s tennis coach Michaela Gorman enters her 14th season with the Charlotte 49ers in 2016-17. She is currently tied for the third-longest tenure of any current Niners head coach.
Gorman has been a steady leader for Charlotte since taking over prior to the 2003-04 campaign, guiding the program to double-digit dual match victories in 10 of her 13 years, including a best of 16 three times (2006, 2009, 2012). Her 13 seasons and 154 wins with the 49ers trail only the legendary Penny Brawley in school history.
Gorman’s career record stands at 154-125, placing her tops among Niners head women’s tennis coaches with a .552 winning percentage. Triumph No. 150 for Gorman happened last spring, as the 49ers earned a home victory over Campbell April 6 to begin a five-match win streak to conclude the regular season. Her 100th career triumph came at the conclusion of the 2011 fall season.
Seven of the program’s Top 10 all-time singles wins leaders have played under Gorman’s watch, including career leader Kathy Robey (78) and second-place Ashleigh Murray (74). Natsuko Takayanagi, who graduated in 2015, concluded her career tied for third with 69 triumphs. More impressively, eight of the Top 10 for doubles victories have competed during the last decade with Murray leading with way with 84 triumphs.
Gorman has developed 53 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Scholar Athletes, 24 Atlantic 10 Players of the Week, 21 All-Atlantic 10 selections, six All-Atlantic 10 Academic Team honorees, an Atlantic 10 Rookie Performer of the Year, four All-Conference USA Team recipients, three All-Conference USA Academic Team picks, two Conference USA Athletes of the Week and a CoSIDA Academic All-District Team choice during her Charlotte tenure.
Boosting the team’s success in the classroom was a 3.68 cumulative grade-point average in the Spring 2014 term, the highest on-record for any program in school history. Five of the eight players garnered a perfect 4.0 GPA during the semester. Overall, the women’s tennis program earned Academic Progress Rate (APR) Public Recognition honors from the NCAA for six-straight years from 2009-14, the longest consecutive streak of any Charlotte athletic team during that span, with perfect 1000 scores.
Her career flourished from the start, as the 49ers posted four-straight winning seasons to open her tenure. It was the longest such streak for the program since a school-record eight-year stretch from 1984-85 through 1991-92. Gorman’s three 16-win campaigns are just one shy of the four 16-plus overall years the program had experienced prior to her hiring.
This past spring Charlotte made a late push, with five straight victories to close the regular season, to enter the Conference USA Championships with a winning record. The Niners squared off against three national-ranked opponents and posted a 6-2 record on their home courts, the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex.
Junior Macy Vonderschmidt collected her third-straight All-Conference USA Team recognition, becoming one of only four players in program history to be named to three postseason all-league squads and the only one of the quartet to receive the honors from Conference USA. Only one other player in school history, Ana Spivakovsky, started her run like Vonderschmidt as a freshman.
Rookie Tai Martin joined Vonderschmidt on the postseason All-Conference USA Team, becoming only the fifth freshman in school history to garner the accolade and the first since Vonderschmidt (2014). She played at No. 1 and No. 2 singles all spring, as well as helping to form the top doubles pairing with junior Victoria Pahlett. With Vonderschmidt and Martin both collecting their awards last spring, it marked the first time during the program’s tenure in Conference USA (1996-2005; 2014-present) in which multiple players were selected to the postseason all-league teams.
In 2014-15, Gorman orchestrated a 14-10 campaign against arguably the toughest schedule in school history, with a program-record five nationally-ranked foes on the docket. Included among the opponents was a March 7, 2015, meeting with No. 1 North Carolina at the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex, marking the first match against the nation’s top team in school history and the first appearance on the 49ers’ home courts for the Tar Heels. Current assistant coach Caroline Price was a member of the UNC squad, playing at the No. 2 singles position, ranked No. 15 nationally, and as a part of the No. 11-ranked top doubles tandem.
Although Charlotte lost the competitive match, it would be one of only two blemishes during a 10-2 home season, the best mark since the facility opened in 2012-13 and one of three years in school history in which the Niners tallied double-digit home victories.
Two players, senior Lisa Grosselius and Pahlett, garnered All-Conference USA Academic Team honors marking the first time the 49ers have had multiple selections during the same year. Grosselius collected a combined three all-league academic team plaudits during her career, the most of any player in program history.
Vonderschmidt also added her second-straight All-Conference USA nod for her singles play, making her the first player in program history with multiple All-C-USA honors. She shared the team lead with a combined 35 wins with junior Tyler Baker and freshman Fleur Holtkamp, as Charlotte exhibited strength from top to bottom throughout the lineup.
At the end of the season, the 49ers were listed at No. 10 in the ultra-competitive ITA Carolina Region rankings. It marked the first postseason regional ranking for the program since 2004 and just the third in school history. The No. 10 spot shares for the highest listing in school history, along with the 1991 team.
Vonderschmidt became the fourth freshman in school history to earn all-league accolades when she was selected to the All-Conference USA Team in singles action following the 2013-14 campaign. She also became the first player in school history to receive Conference USA Athlete of the Week recognition.
In 2012-13, she oversaw a lineup featuring five seniors and five underclassmen. With eight matches affected due to inclement weather, the Niners entered their final Atlantic 10 Championships with a double-digit win campaign already in-hand. They would advance to the quarterfinals, as Charlotte concluded its eight-year run in the league with no lower than a sixth-place finish in the final standings.
The first doubles pair in school history to crack the national rankings donned the green and white in 2011-12, as senior Andrea Rivera and junior Alexandra Zinn entered the Campbell’s/ITA listings at No. 48 Feb. 20, 2012. They helped lead the 49ers to a No. 2 seed in the Atlantic 10 Championships, matching the highest in program history, and a 16-6 overall record. At the end of the year, Gorman was elected to the ITA’s Carolina Region Coaches Committee.
The 2011 season witnessed Charlotte earning a pair of league tournament victories for the second-straight year, but it couldn’t match the magic of the 2010 conference event. The 49ers shocked the A-10 by knocking off top seed Xavier in a late-night affair on their way to a top-three finish for the fourth time in their initial five seasons as a league member.
It marked Charlotte’s second-straight third-place result, as the 2009 campaign was highlighted by numerous standout doubles performances. Three of the Top 10 doubles tandem single-season victory totals were posted during the year, led by a school-record 26 from senior Koren Fleming and sophomore Gabi Vergara. Vergara’s 27 overall doubles triumphs equaled the school record, originally established in 1985-86, while Fleming’s 26 place her in a tie for third on the all-time list.
Success that season was not limited to just doubles, however, as Yudeshnee Pillay’s 25 wins and Kimber Redfern’s 24 victories in singles moved them into a tie for second and a tie for fourth on the single-season singles chart.
Just two years earlier, in 2006-07, Spivakovsky became the first player in school history to earn a conference Freshman of the Year plaudit after completing a school-record 26-7 campaign, including an 18-4 dual match ledger at No. 1 singles.
Gorman paced the 49ers to 16 wins for the first time in her career in 2005-06, the highest total in 15 years for the program. Charlotte reached the Atlantic 10 Championships final to complete its first season in the new league.
Four of the school’s Top 10 career singles leaders competed for Gorman during the first stint in Conference USA, including both Robey and Murray. They were joined by Laura Swain and Ali Piacente, who currently place sixth and seventh on the chart with 64 and 63 wins to their credit, respectively.
Gorman’s first season, 2003-04, finished with a sixth-place result in Conference USA, the highest in program history and a No. 14 ranking in the postseason ITA Southeast Region rankings, just the second in school history. The 14 victories that year still stand as the most by a first-year head coach in program history.
The former Michaela Quinn returned to the Queen City after a two-year stint as an assistant men’s and women’s tennis coach at her alma mater, UNC Greensboro. While with the Spartans, she spent much of her time with the women’s program under the direction of head coach Jeff Trivette.
She enjoyed a stellar four-year playing career at UNCG, earning All-Big South Conference and All-Southern Conference honors in doubles action. She also served as the Spartans’ team captain.
Her accomplishments at UNC Greensboro did not go unnoticed, as she was selected to the Southern Conference 25th Anniversary Tennis Team as announced in 2007-08. Each of the member schools selected one player for representation and she was honored as the Spartans’ choice.
It marked the silver anniversary of the league conducting athletic championships for women and the teams for each of the nine women’s sports were chosen by a panel of administrators and coaches.
Quinn served as a USTA Southern Section Davis Cup team coach in the U12 division in the summer of 2002. In that role, she conducted practices and set lineups for match play. She also has experience for two summers as the head pro at the Cedarwood Pool in Jamestown, North Carolina, during her college career.
A product of Charlotte’s South Mecklenburg HS, her first tennis coach was Brawley, who spent 22 years in charge of the 49ers’ program.
Gorman graduated in 2000 from UNC Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and tourism.
She was married June 28, 2008, to Jeromy Gorman. The couple lives in south Charlotte with their sons, Sawyer (6) and Wyatt (3), in addition to two dogs, Bella and Scout.
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