January 22, 1998
1998 Spring Season Preview
After again proving they were one of the Big Ten's top teams last
year, the Hoosiers have their sights set on returning to the top spot in
the conference as they enter the 1997-98 season. Eight players return
from the squad that won 19 matches last season while finishing second in
the Big Ten Championships. Led by three seniors--Megan McCarney, Christy
Sharp, and Correne Stout--the Hoosiers hope to add yet another Big Ten
Championship to their already stocked trophy case in 1998.
McCarney and Sharp, members of the 1995 championship team that went
13-0 in conference play while finishing the season ranked 14th in the
nation, look to lead the Hoosiers back to the top of the pack this season.
"Megan, Christy, and Correne all have a tremendous amount of college
tennis experience," said Loring. "We need strong leadership from them on
and off the court. If they play well, our team will be successful this
Consistency throughout the line-up will work to Indiana's advantage
this season. With six upperclassmen and four underclassmen, the blend of
youth and experience will definitely benefit the Hoosiers as the season
Besides the three seniors, several other returning players will have
key roles in the success of the Hoosiers in 1998.
Sophomore Jessica Anderson, who compiled a 27-12 singles record last
year, will be a key factor, as will fellow sophomore Zahra Ahamed, who
went 21-9 in singles action. Freshman Ana Ceretto will also see extensive
singles action, with Candice Donahoe and Becky Wallihan rounding out the
Junior Kelly Fitzgerald should see playing time in doubles action,
teaming up with Wallihan at the number four position. Freshman Jennifer
Hsia will see action in out of conference singles matches and will be a
valuable sub during conference play.
Indiana's schedule is again a tough one, highlighted by a rigorous
conference schedule. The Big Ten is stocked, with Michigan, Wisconsin,
and Minnesota all battling the Hoosiers for the conference's top spot.
"There are five teams capable of winning the Big Ten this year. Like last
year, the team at the end of the season with the most healthy team will be
favored. Michigan started the same six singles players in every match
last year and it showed at the Big Ten Tournament. The team that can put
the same six players on the court for three straight days will win the
title this year," said Loring.
Wisconsin will play host to the 1998 Big Ten Championships, while
Notre Dame plays host to the 1998 NCAA Division I Championships.
Indiana is healthy and ready to once again sit atop the Big Ten
conference. If the team can avoid injuries they should be primed as they
make their run towards the top. "The first and most important ingredient
to a successful season is getting healthy and staying healthy," said
Loring. "We had an amazing year last year when you consider that half our
starting line-up was out or played injured. All twelve team members
started at least one match. The Big Ten and the top 30 nationally ranked
teams are all very close in ability. One player out of the lineup can
make the difference between winning and losing."
With strong leadership from the three seniors Loring and his crew
could easily find themselves back among the nation's elite by the time the
Big Ten Championships roll around in late April.
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