Panthers Claim Spot In League Tourney, Open Play Thursday Vs. Butler
April 18, 2011
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's tennis team will continue its season at the Horizon League Championships later this week in Indianapolis.
Milwaukee will be the sixth seed in the event and opens play Thursday at 1 p.m. EDT/12 p.m. CDT against third-seeded Butler.
The Panthers (11-9, 3-5 Horizon) officially entered the six-team field when Detroit knocked off Youngstown State Sunday.
UIC (16-4, 8-0 Horizon) is again the top seed for the tournament. The Flames have not lost in the championships since 1996
Milwaukee found itself sitting and waiting this past weekend after finishing up its regular season April 9 with a loss at Detroit. But the Panthers' solid start to their league schedule held up, putting them back in the tournament field after missing out last season.
"At the beginning of the season, our number-one goal as a team was to qualify for the conference tournament," UWM head coach Sean McInerney said. "We knew the conference was the deepest and most talented it has ever been and it would be a tough challenge. We have battled for nine long months to have an opportunity to play in this event and I am very proud that we accomplished this goal."
Sophomore transfer Maddy Soule, a favorite for league individual honors when the awards are announced later this week, has led Milwaukee all season. She has a school-record 24 singles wins, including a 6-2 mark in league play. She also has 16 doubles wins. Freshman Kristin Kurer is second on the team with 20 singles wins, while sophomore Beth Ganser had 15 doubles victories.
Milwaukee's biggest issue down the stretch has been with injuries. The Panthers have been battling a variety of ailments over the course of the spring season and have seen a number of lineup regulars have to miss or be limited during matches.
"We have really struggled with injuries for the last two months of our schedule," McInerney said. "It has been a testament to all eight women on this team that they found away to finish this season with 11 wins and have earned a spot in the tournament. I feel like we haven't been healthy for most of the spring schedule and that has really been tough. When I think back on this season, I will always remember how all eight players truly contributed to this and how they stepped up and found a way to get the job done. I am very proud of that fact."
Should UWM beat Butler, it would play in the semifinals Friday at 2:30 p.m. EDT against second-seeded Cleveland State. If Milwaukee loses, it would play either fourth-seeded Wright State or fifth-seeded Detroit in the fifth-place match Friday at 9 a.m. EDT.
All of the matches are scheduled to be played outdoors at North Central High School in Indianapolis.