Women's tennis loses two seniors, but has bright future
Published: Saturday, April 28, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
You could say the DePaul women’s tennis team has won the first set in this season’s game. But they have a long way to go if they want to win the second.
The Blue Demons recently returned home from The Big East tournament last week after falling to Notre Dame 4-0.
“I go to try and win it,” Head Coach Mark Ardizzone said after finishing in third twice. “Notre Dame is a top 20 team that’s won the Big East over the last few years.”
The Blue Demons (14-7, 5-2) may have finished the year ranked 69th in the country, but it seems a bright future is ahead.
The addition of some talented freshmen gave the Blue Demons a refreshing boost in the second half of the season that translated into the team winning four of their last five matches against Big East teams. Although tennis can be considered an individual sport, the Blue Demons proved the effectiveness of team chemistry.
“I was happy with the way the season ended,” senior Gia McKnight said. “With three new freshmen I didn’t know what to expect early on, but I’m proud of my girls.”
McKnight finished her career with 175 wins, placing fifth on DePaul’s all-time wins list. She and Cali Gustafson were the only two upperclassmen on DePaul’s roster this season.
Gustafson finishes her career with 95 wins, including a 65-44 doubles record.
Both McKnight and Gustafson played pivotal roles in their teammates’ development.
“Cali and Gia will be sorely missed,” Ardizzone said. “They showed unbelievable leadership this season that paved way for the rest of the team.”
The lack of upperclassmen next season won’t make it any easier for the team, especially with only one junior on the roster. It will be a test for the current team to step up and lead the three incoming freshmen to success. This family unit will have to come together if the Blue Demons want to find themselves on top of the Big East next season. And freshman Jasmin Kling will be ready.
Kling, a native of Heilbronn, Germany, went 15–9 this season at No. 1 singles, after arriving at DePaul this past January. After one season at DePaul, Kling feels optimistic about the Blue Demons’ future.
“We’re a young team that performed well this year,” Kling said. “If nobody leaves we will have success.”
Kling was DePaul’s first Big East “freshman of the year” and fourth all-time, dating back to the Conference USA days.
Kling, along with Patricia Fargas, Carolinn Neumann, Rebecca Mitrea and Kelsey Lawson will take charge next season as DePaul hopes to capture the Big East title.
If all goes well it will be game, set, match for the Big East crown.