Women's Tennis To Play at Wake Forest
Sept. 21, 2006
Bloomington, Ind. - The Indiana University women's tennis team will be looking for its 25th trip to the NCAA tournament this season, as it returns five of its top six players from the 2005-06. Finishing last year with a 17-9 record and a No. 42 national ranking, head coach Lin Loring is optimistic about the upcoming season.
The biggest loss for the Hoosiers is All-American Sarah Batty, who competed at No. 1 singles and doubles. However, several Indiana players will be competing to step into the top spot. Loring will utilize the fall tournaments to ready his players for a competitive spring.
"Our success in the spring will depend on two things," Loring said. "First, how much we improve in the fall. With hard work and discipline, many of our players can make a big jump before the dual match season begins. Second, how good of a job we do at coming up new doubles combinations. Graduating All-American Sarah Batty makes it really important that we come up with three solid teams. It will be hard to have one great team, but we should be able to be competitive at every position."
The top returning player is senior Laura McGaffigan. She had a record of 15-10 in dual meet action, competing at No. 2 singles. She started the season ranked at No. 100 nationally. McGaffigan also went 18-7 in dual meets with Batty at No. 1 doubles.
"Laura is co-captain with Cecile Perton this year and both do an excellent job of leading by example," Loring said. "Laura has improved every year and played higher in the lineup every year. This year should be no different. We also need another great year from Cecile."
Perton led Indiana with 19 dual meet wins, playing mostly at No. 6 singles. She led the team in Big Ten victories, with a 9-1 record. Perton also went 11-8 in the dual meet season at No. 3 doubles with Alba Berdala.
Playing primarily at No. 3 singles, junior Brianna Williams tallied 13 wins last season in dual meet play. She was also strong in doubles competition, earning 17 wins with Sigrid Fischer at No. 2 doubles.
"Brianna showed great improvement from her freshmen to her sophomore year in both singles and doubles," Loring said. "She has made herself an important part of our team. We need her great enthusiasm every day at practice."
Berdala, a sophomore, started the year 8-3 in the fall tournaments before going 14-12 in dual meet action. She competed at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 singles for the Hoosiers last season. Berdala also earned an 11-8 record in dual meet action at No. 3 doubles with Perton.
"Alba played some of her best tennis in the fall last year," Loring said. "If she can carry that level of play over to the spring, she will be a tremendous asset to the team.
Fischer went 18-7 in dual meet singles action. She played at both No. 4 and No. 5 singles. The sophomore teamed up with Williams in doubles play to go 17-7 at No. 2.
"Sigrid had a great freshman year, helping us tremendously in singles and doubles," Loring said. "We expect her to continue improving and have another great year."
Sophomore Marah Calvo is an up and coming player who will look to jump into the starting six. She went 5-6 in the fall tournaments, and earned a 3-3 record at No. 3 doubles in dual meet play.
"Marah worked really hard last season and by the end of the year she was starting in doubles," Loring said. "I think she will continue to improve and contribute this year."
Sophomore Stephanie Heller is another player who will compete for playing time. She went 7-3 in the fall, with a 2-0 record in the spring.
"Stephanie's game used to be based on steady groundstrokes," Loring said. "Her serve and all-court game have improved greatly making her a much tougher competitor."
Two newcomers, Lindsey Stuckey and Erin Clark will both add depth and talent to the already strong Hoosier lineup. Stuckey played for Greensboro Day School's varsity tennis team from the time she was in seventh grade. She led Greensboro to a 20-0 season in 2004, winning the state title. In junior tennis she was ranked No. 85 in the country and No. 12 in the USTA South in girls 18s. Clark played four years at No. 1 singles and doubles for Fairfax High School. In junior tennis, her highest ranking in girls 18s was No. 3 in the USTA Mid-Atlantic section, and No. 128 nationally.
"Lindsey is very talented and we just need to calm her game down a little," Loring said. "If we can do that I expect her to be a big help for us this year. Erin moves really well and has solid mechanics. With good players to practice with every day she will quickly become an important part of our team."
Highlighting the schedule are dual matches with four teams that finished in the top ten of the 2006 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA)/FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings.
"This year's schedule is the same very competitive schedule that we have had for some time," Loring said. "Notre Dame, Northwestern, Duke and North Carolina all finished in the top 10 last year. Tennessee, Kentucky and Wake Forest are always top-25 teams. Six Big Ten schools made the NCAA field last year. So our schedule, non-conference and conference, will be tough as always and very exciting for our fans."
The Hoosiers begin the fall campaign at the Wake Forest Invitational, Sept. 22-24 in Winston-Salem, N.C., before returning to Bloomington for the Hoosier Classic, Oct. 6-8. The Classic will feature teams from LSU, Murray State, Kansas, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Mississippi State.
Two ITA tournaments highlight the remainder of the fall schedule, with the All-American Championships in Pacific Palisades, Calif., on Oct. 12-15, and the Midwest Regionals, hosted by Michigan State, Oct. 19-24. Indiana will also compete at the Western Michigan Duals, Nov. 3-5.
The dual-match schedule begins with a home match against Western Michigan on Jan. 14, while the Hoosiers will play Miami (Ohio) later in the afternoon. Indiana will take on Kansas (which finished the year ranked 59th) and Wichita on the road on Jan. 20, while returning home for DePaul and Butler on Jan. 27, and Marquette and Ball State on Feb. 4.
The Hoosiers travel to North Carolina for one of their toughest road trips of the year Feb. 10-11, when they face Duke and North Carolina. The Blue Devils were ranked No. 9 in the final 2006 FILA rankings, while the Tar Heels finished at No. 10.
Indiana will conclude February with home matches against Wake Forest, which finished the year ranked at No. 22, Kentucky, ranked 17th in the final polls, and Tennessee, which was 32nd.
Big Ten play starts on March 3 against Wisconsin, before the Hoosiers travel to Las Vegas, Nev. for the Las Vegas Invitational, March 12-14. The team will also hold an alumni fundraiser while on their trip out west.
In April, Indiana plays the majority of its Big Ten schedule, with matches against Michigan State, Ohio State, Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue, Penn State and Michigan. Northwestern was ranked eighth in the final ITA poll, while Michigan, Iowa and Purdue were all ranked in the top-40.
April also includes a match with traditional power Notre Dame on April 7. The Fighting Irish finished the season ranked fifth in the 2006 poll.
The Big Ten Championships, scheduled for April 26-29, will be held in Minneapolis, Minn. Concluding the year are the NCAA Regionals, held from May 11-13, and the NCAA Championships, May 18-27. The final tournament will be held this year in Athens, Georgia.
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