Beatriz Leon is excited to get the Columbus State women's tennis season underway.
"I feel this is the best team we have had from top to bottom since I was a freshman, and we can get better," she said.
"We should have a good year if everyone pulls together, and we don't have any serious injuries."
The Lady Cougars open the 2016 season on Saturday at home against West Florida.
Leon, a junior, played No. 1 singles for the 2015 season and is expected to be No. 1 again this year. She was a 2015 ITA All-American selection at singles as well as being named a Peach Belt pre-season all-conference pick in 2016, her second straight year of getting that honor.
Leon was 17-2 in singles play and 20-5 in doubles last season and is 39-4 in singles for her first two seasons.
CSU coach Evan Isaacs is looking for more of a leadership role from Leon.
"I have no seniors on the roster, and I expect Beatriz to take a leadership role for this team as the No. 1 player," Isaacs said.
Despite no seniors, Columbus State's team is ranked 8th nationally in Division II, the 20th year in a row for a national ranking by the Lady Cougars.
They will face a strong test as they open the season against 4th-ranked West Florida, a point that is not lost to Leon.
"This will be a good test for us and this would be a good time to beat them since it is early (in the season)," Leon said.
Leon is originally from Zaragoza, Spain, and also went to school with CSU men's player Marco Almorin.
"I have known Marco since I was 9 years old, and we had the same coach growing up." Leon said. "He encouraged me to come to CSU, and he let me know how everything is here."
Currently an Exercise Science major at CSU, Leon sees a future outside of tennis once she gets her degree as well.
"I hope to work on my master's once I get my undergraduate degree and work either in physical therapy or as an athletic trainer," Leon said.