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June 16, 2009

2009-2010 Season - Experienced Vikings look forward to 2009-10

After finishing the 2008-09 season with a 14-13 overall record, Augustana head coach Adam Strand is anxiously awaiting the start of the 2009-10 women’s tennis campaign. His team returns basically intact with a total of eight letter winners back from a unit which recorded the highest win total in school history since the 1997-98 Vikings went 18-0.

“I am excited and looking forward to this season,” said Strand who has compiled a dual meet record of 37-35 in three seasons. “On paper it looks like the best team we have had since I have been here. We have all the pieces in place to be pretty good.”

A trio of seniors, who were freshmen during Strand’s first season as women’s head coach in 2006-07, will provide the key to any success the Vikings hope to have. Jenna Richardson (Walther Lutheran HS, Bellwood, Ill.), Tricia Crawford (Decorah HS, Decorah, Iowa) and Emily Doemland (Downers Grove South HS, Westmont, Ill.) have provided a solid nucleus over the past three years.

“We really owe a lot to Jenna, Tricia and Emily,” said Strand. “Those three came on when we were trying to get things going and they really bought in to what we were trying to accomplish. They showed leadership when they were still trying to figure out how to compete at the collegiate level. It has been fun to watch them progress.”

Richardson occupied the number one spot last year and she finished her junior season with a 16-14 overall record. She was a second team all-conference selection in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin for the second straight year. She was also named the team’s Most Valuable Player for the third consecutive season. During her career she has compiled a record of 52-35 and she is 24-19 while playing at number one singles.

Crawford spent the fall of 2008 studying internationally but came back in the spring and claimed the number two singles spot. She was 5-7 in the spring and she won 12 of her final 16 matches, singles and doubles combined, to finish her junior year. She was 9-15 as a sophomore while splitting time at first and second singles.

Doemland was tied for second on the team in victories last year when she went 16-14 while spending the majority of her time at number three. She placed third in the CCIW tournament at number three singles. As a sophomore she was 13-13 while playing at three and four singles.

Junior Tricia Sapio (Barrington HS, Hoffman Estates, Ill.) finished third in the CCIW at number four singles in 2008-09. She also led the team in victories with a 17-14 overall record.

Sophomore Brittany Reece (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) was 14-12 as a freshman and she was very successful at number six where she went 5-1. Junior Sheri Hendricks (Wheaton Warrenville South HS, Warrenville, Ill.) is coming off an injury plagued sophomore season that saw her go 3-2 in limited action. Junior Justine Stukas (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) played in 12 matches in 2008-09. Junior Kaitlin Kulovitz (Lincoln Way Central HS, New Lenox, Ill.) missed all of the 2008-09 season but she was 12-7 in 2007-08 while playing mostly at number five.

Freshman Krista Panko (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.) had a good high school career and she could break into the singles lineup. Other newcomers who Strand thinks bear watching include Meghan Wethington (Geneseo HS, Geneseo, Ill.) and Sandrine Chomereau-Lamotte (Wheeling HS, Wheeling, Ill.).

“One thing that is nice is the fact that we have a lot of players who have plenty of varsity matches under their belts,” said Strand who has compiled a 66-45 record in four years while doubling as the men’s head coach. “Our goal is to get back into the top three in the CCIW and I think we can accomplish that.”

Last year the Vikings recorded their second consecutive winning season and have 27 dual match victories over the past two years.

“Once again I think we have given our players the opportunity to be successful,” commented Strand. “We have a good schedule where we will play close to 30 matches next year. We have made progress every year and we expect that to continue.”