Bloomington, IN - The Indiana womens tennis team posted one of the nations most impressive one-year turnarounds in 2004. After going 1-9 in the Big Ten in 2003, the Hoosiers did exactly the opposite this spring, recording a Big Ten record of 9-1, an overall record of 17-8 and a share of the regular season league title. This is the 16th league title in school history and the first since 1998.
Was this Big Ten title any more special than the first 15? Yes, but only because before this, we had never gone more than two years without a Big Ten title, head coach Lin Loring said. You almost start taking them for granted. This one is special because we had to wait so long for it.
Eleven of Indianas 17 wins came against teams who had beaten the Hoosiers last season, and four of those 17 wins came against teams who were ranked in the top 25: then- No. 10 Tennessee, then- No. 12 Kentucky, then- No. 16 Illinois and then-No. 25 Michigan.
The No. 21 Hoosiers lost a heartbreaking 4-2 decision to the then-No. 41 Arizona Wildcats in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on May 14 in Los Angeles.
The Hoosier doubles tandem of senior Linda Tran and sophomore Sarah Batty fell to UCLAs Daniela Bercek and Lauren Fisher in three sets, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, in the quarterfinals of the 2004 NCAA Doubles Championship at the Dan Magill Tennis Center in Athens, Ga., on May 27. Batty and Tran ended the year with an overall record of 14-3.
By reaching the quarterfinals, Batty and Tran have both earned All-American honors in doubles. This is the first time a Hoosier has been selected an All-American since Deborah Edelman and Rachel Epstein advanced to the quarterfinals in 1993 to earn the honor. They finished the year ranked 15th in the nation in doubles.
Batty and Tran were not the only Indiana players to earn accolades. Tran and Dora Vastag were each named to the All-Big Ten first team, and Vastag closed the year ranked 54th in the nation in singles at 19-12.
Loring and associate head coach Ramiro Azcui were honored by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as the Midwest Coach of the Year and the Midwest Assistant Coach of the Year. In addition, Azcui was honored by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as the National Assistant Coach of the Year.
This is the seventh time Loring has earned Midwest Coach of the Year recognition, as he was honored with the award in 1981, 1982, 1989, 1991, 1992 and 1995. A 6-1 win over Michigan State on April 11 gave Loring his 600th win at Indiana.
Azcui just finished his 12th season at Indiana. He came to Bloomington in 1992, and has helped the Hoosiers win five Big Ten titles and earn10 NCAA appearances. This is his third Midwest Assistant Coach of the Year award, in the award's eight-year existence. Azcui also won the award in 1997 and 1999.