Panthers Start Preparations For League Championship
April 21, 2008
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will be the sixth seed and open play against seventh-seeded Wright State at the 2008 Horizon League Women's Tennis Championships, set for this weekend in Indianapolis.
The Panthers (12-11, 4-4) actually finished in a tie with Youngstown State for fifth place, but are in the sixth slot thanks to a loss to the Penguins during the regular season.
UWM's first match is scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT Friday. Should the Panthers win, they would advance to face third-seeded Detroit Saturday at 10 a.m. EDT. If the Panthers lose Friday, they would move directly to the seventh-place match, which is Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT.
The Panthers should have confidence heading into their first match of the event. Milwaukee snapped a three-match losing streak with a 6-1 win over Green Bay Saturday and UWM has a 5-2 win at Wright State earlier this season under its belt. In that contest, the Panthers won the doubles point and then captured four of the six singles contests to claim the road victory. In fact, Milwaukee saw each of its singles wins come in straight sets while the loss by Martina Schnapp at #2 singles came in three sets.
Should UWM beat the Raiders, it would get a chance for its second victory of the season against Detroit. The Panthers beat the Titans, 4-3, in a March 1 contest played in Peoria, Ill. After dropping the doubles point, UWM claimed four of six singles matches for the upset victory. UDM has won five of its last eight outings, including wins over Valparaiso and Youngstown State in the last week of the season, to capture third place, earning a bye into the second round.
The Panthers have posted plenty of stellar numbers during the 2007-08 campaign. Individually, freshman Jenna Felsher has posted a school-record 21 singles victories while sophomore Kelly Drvaric has 15 wins while playing mainly in the #1 slot. Sophomore Kari Kastenholz has won eight of her last 10 singles matches to raise her season total to 17 wins while freshman Sammi Schoen has 18 victories.
Success in doubles play has been a bit harder to come by for the Panthers, who have claimed the doubles point just eight times in 23 dual outings. But, the tandem of Drvaric and Kastenholz has been solid, collecting a team-best 15 wins.
UWM's highest finish ever in a league tournament is fourth, which it claimed in a seven-team field in 1998. Last season, the Panthers finished in fifth place in the event, bouncing back for wins over Wright State and Youngstown State after opening the tournament with a loss to Cleveland State.
UIC has won the last 11 league titles and earned the top seed for the event. Butler is the second seed, and each of the top two squads has a bye into the semifinals. With the addition of Valparaiso, the championship now includes nine teams.
The event is scheduled to run through Sunday at North Central High School in Indianapolis.