Four To Join ECU Pirate Women’s Tennis Program

Head Coach Tom Morris Announces 2012-13 Signing Class

GREENVILLE, NC Jan. 15, 2013 – East Carolina Head Women’s Tennis Coach Tom Morris announced Tuesday that four high school players who currently hold regional and national rankings have declared their intent to attend and play tennis at East Carolina University beginning this fall.

Four Join ECU Pirate Women's Tennis

Morris’ 2012-2013 recruiting class includes Michelle Castro from Oakton, Va., Emily Groeneveld from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Samantha Light from Cramerton, N.C. and Scarlett Walston from Greenville, N.C.

Michelle Castro – Oakton, Va. (Bishop O’Connell High School)

  • Ranked among Top 10 in USTA Mid-Atlantic Region in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Member of National Championship Mid-Atlantic Zonal Team in 2011
  • Currently ranked No. 3 in Virginia Recruiting Class
  • Currently ranked No. 21 in Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Class
  • Earned a No. 131 national ranking among all high school seniors

Coach Morris on Castro: “Michelle is currently playing at a very high level and shows great potential to take her game to another level. She has very clean strokes, hits strong on both sides, and possesses great fundamentals for an all-court game. We are looking forward to working with Michelle the next four years.”

Emily Groeneveld – Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Calvary Christian Academy)

  • Advanced to Florida Class AA Finals in singles and doubles in 2012
  • Selected as tennis team captain as a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior
  • Played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles at prep level all four years
  • Has posted a 34-4 overall singles record during high school career
  • Ranked as high as No. 88 in national recruiting class
  • Named team MVP for tennis in 2010, 2011 and 2012
  • Also earned four letters in track and field
  • Named team MVP for track program in 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Captured state (AA) track titles in the 4X400 and 4×800 in 2011
  • Helped squad win back-to-back state track titles in 2011 and 2012
  • Currently possesses a 4.2 weighted grade point average

Coach Morris on Groeneveld: “I had an opportunity to watch Emily play this past summer in a national championship event and was extremely impressed with her play. She is solid from the baseline on both forehand and backhand, and moves very well at the net. Emily has the ability to make a big difference in our lineup in both singles and doubles as a freshman and we are looking forward to having her as a part of our program next year.”

Samantha Light – Cramerton, N.C. (Providence Day School)

  • A three-year all-conference and all-state performer (2010, 2011, 2012)
  • Part of tandem that captured state high school doubles championship in 2012
  • Also won North Carolina prep singles title in 2012
  • Compiled an overall high school combined record of 50-1 (singles and doubles play)
  • Selected as the 2008 Southern “Player-of-the-Year”
  • Teamed to win the 2011 K-Swiss National Clay Court (tournament) doubles championship
  • Advanced to the title singles match of the 2011 K-Swiss National Clay Court (tournament)
  • Earned the singles title at the 2012 N.C. Clay Court (tournament)
  • Individual national ranking rose to No. 39 in recruiting class
  • Currently ranked No. 6 in North Carolina and stands among the Top 40 in Southeast Region
  • Carries a 4.2 weighted grade point average

Coach Morris on Light: “Samantha is a great athlete with the background and experience that will make an immediate impact in our program next year. She has a very strong baseline game and moves to the ball extremely well. Ranked as high as No. 39 nationally in her recruiting class, we are very excited that Samantha will be wearing purple next year.”

Scarlett Walston – Greenville, N.C. (J.H. Rose/Heritage Academy)

  • Selected as prep program’s 2009 Tennis Rookie-of-the-Year
  • A two-time (2009 and 2010) all-conference, all-region and all-state performer
  • Trained at the Van Der Meer Tennis Academy (Hilton Head, S.C.) in 2011 and 2012
  • Currently ranks among the Top 15 and Top 40 in N.C. and Southeast Region recruiting classes, respectively
  • Possesses a weighted grade point average of 5.0 and ranks No. 1 in class
  • Earned National Honor Society inclusion in 2011 and 2012

Coach Morris on Walston: “Scarlett has shown great improvement in her game the past two years and is continuing that improvement. She has a very strong game from the baseline on forehand and backhand, and will play a large part in our team’s success during her time here. We were very impressed with Scarlett during her visit and welcome her to our program.”

Morris and the Pirates will open their traditional dual match spring season Saturday by hosting Appalachian State beginning at 10 a.m. at the ECU Tennis Complex.