Women's Tennis Begins Fall Schedule This Weekend
Sept. 18, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana University women's tennis team will compete in the 2007 Deacon Classic this weekend on the campus of Wake Forest University. It marks the beginning of the 2007-08 fall schedule for the Hoosiers and will run from Sept. 21-23.
Other schools participating in the invitational will be Charlotte, Dartmouth, Davidson, Georgia State, Illinois, Richmond and Wake Forest.
2007-08 SEASON PREVIEW
Replacing the void left by the graduation of two highly successful seniors is a big key to Indiana's success this year. Cecile Perton totaled 166 career victories between singles and doubles play over the past four seasons. Junior Sigrid Fischer will certainly miss having Perton around as the pair teamed up to earn a team-high 22 doubles wins last season. While Laura McGaffigan will still be around as a student assistant for the Hoosiers, her stellar play on the court will be missed. McGaffigan racked up 190 career victories, and was an All-Big Ten honroee last season.
"We lost two very experienced doubles players in Laura and Cecile," said Head Coach Lin Loring. "One of our biggest challenges this year will be finding new doubles combinations."
"What we lacked last year in talent we made up for in competitiveness," said Loring. "That team competed extremely hard every time out. Hopefully that will carry over to this year's team."
The top returning player is Junior Alba Berdala, an All-Big Ten selection as a sophomore. She had an overall record of 20-17 competing at No. 1 singles. Berdala looks to become an elite player this year, building on her 6-1, 6-3 win over No. 37 Inga Beerman last season. She also flashed her doubles skills, pairing up with McGaffigan for wins over two nationally-ranked opponents. The tandem finished the regular season ranked No. 60 in the country. Berdala is expected to reassume the No. 1 singles slot she occupied nearly the entire '06-'07 campaign.
Senior Brianna Williams is the lone four-year player for the Hoosiers this year, and is expected to lead her teammates on and off the court as the team captain. Williams, who has been a singles and doubles starter her entire career, picked up a win in both during Indiana's win over No. 43 Boise State in the first round of the 2007 NCAA tournament. Williams will aslo see doubles action as she compiled a 19-6 combined record with Stephanie Heller and Erin Clark a season ago.
Juniors Sigrid Fischer and Stephanie Heller round out the upperclassmen. Fischer has won a high percentage of her matches as a Hoosier, and looks to take the next step to become one of the top players on the team this year. Playing primarily at No. 3 a year ago, she went 23-15 overall and 7-2 in conference play. She is also considered one of the team's best doubles players. Heller started at No. 3 doubles for part of the 2006-07 season and will challenge for a singles spot because of her consistent style of play.
Sophomores Erin Clark and Lindsey Stuckey will also be competing for extended playing time in the upcoming season. Clark is very athletic and expected to push for starting spots in both singles and doubles. She became a doubles starter midway through last season and went 9-2 when paired with Brianna Williams at the end of the year. Stuckey immediately started as a freshman and proceeded to lead the team with 27 singles wins. She also stepped up in conference play, winning seven of 10 Big Ten matches.
A quartet of freshmen make up the 2007-08 recruiting class. Maria Guerreiro, from Portugal, Charlotte Martin, from England, Myriam Sopel, from France and Ekaterina "Kate" Zapadalova, from Russia, are the newest members of the Hoosier family and will be counted onto to provide depth and contribute in a big way this year.
Guerreiro brings extensive international ITF and WTA experience to Bloomington. She is a two-time singles champion in the 16s and national doubles champion in the 16s and 18s, ranking in the top 20 in the European Tennis Association's 16s.
Martin ranked No. 30 nationally in the 18s and No. 35 in the Open British singles rankings, including a No. 1 ranking in her state, Shropshire. She also brings extensive international ITF and WTA experience to Indiana.
Sopel reached the top 30 in the junior rankings in France while owning a "0" rating in the French ranking system. That is the same ranking that Perton had when she came to IU four years ago. Sopel is a complete athlete, evidenced by her participation in the junior national track and field championships.
Zapadalova is yet another freshmen that has extensive international ITF and WTA experience, and ranked as high as No. 10 nationally in the 16s. She comes from a very athletic family as her father played basketball for the Russian national junior team and her mother was a gymnast for the Russian national team.
"If we are going to be successful this year several of the freshmen will have to make major contributions," Loring said.
"They are all very talented. How quickly they adjust to the college academics and their new surroundings will determine how successful they will be on the court."
For the second year in a row, the Hoosiers begin the fall campaign at the Wake Forest Invitational, Sept. 21-23 in Winston-Salem, N.C., before returning to Bloomington for the Hoosier Classic, Oct. 5-7. The Classic will feature teams from Illinois, Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Kansas State, Vanderbilt and Western Michigan.
Next up for the Hoosiers will be the ITA All-American Championships from Oct. 11-14 in Pacific Palisades, California, followed by the Vanderbilt Invitational from Oct. 19-21. Indiana will also compete at the Western Michigan Invitational, Nov. 2-4 to wrap up the fall schedule.
Indiana begins the spring schedule by hosting the Indiana Doubles Invitational on Jan.12-13. The Hoosiers will remain in Bloomington for their next 10 dual matches, spanning from Jan. 20-Feb. 17. IU hits the road for the first time in the spring for a Feb. 23 showdown against Wake Forest and UNC-Greensboro. Indiana then returns home for matches against DePaul and Xavier on Mar. 1 before beginning Big Ten action at Ohio State on Mar. 8.
The Hoosiers are also scheduled to compete at the Florida International Invitational and a dual match with Maryland to cap off the non-conference slate.
The Big Ten season comes to a crescendo from Apr. 24-27 at the Big Ten Championships, hosted by Purdue. The NCAA Tournament is scheduled to begin on May 9 and run through May 26 with the Championship Match in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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