The Valparaiso University women’s tennis team is set to take to the court for the 2009 fall season, which will see the Crusaders compete in three dual matches as well as one tournament.
Head coach Traci Young begins her first full season at the helm of the Brown and Gold after taking over the program midway through the 2009 spring season. She returns five players from last year’s squad and has brought in three freshmen that will look to make an immediate impact on the Crusader program.
Valpo’s lone senior on the roster is Julie Wingstrom, who has mainly played doubles for the Crusaders throughout her career. Playing second doubles each of the last two seasons, Wingstrom has also filled in when needed at the bottom of the singles lineup.
The youthful Crusader team has just has two other upperclassman in redshirt-junior Christine Antrobus and junior Jackie O’Reilly. A singles specialist, Antrobus split time last year among fourth through sixth singles for the Brown and Gold, and will be looking to move up in the lineup. O’Reilly has mainly played doubles for the Crusaders during her first two years with the program, seeing a great deal of action at the third spot as a sophomore. The duo will be relied upon heavily to help the younger players in the lineup.
A pair of sophomores had a great deal of success for the Crusaders in their rookie year as mainstays in the lineup. Katie Bilyeu and Stephanie York played doubles together throughout the year, leading the team in doubles victories. In singles action, Bilyeu played anywhere from number two through five in the lineup while York competed in the three through six spots in the order. Both will be moved up this year, and called upon to play near the top.
Young has brought in a trio of freshmen looking to bolster the rosters for the upcoming season. Stephanie Krebs led Idaho Falls High School in Idaho Falls, Idaho to the district title as a senior as the team went undefeated in the regular season. Jordan Buterbaugh led Chaparral High School to the state championship in Arizona as a junior and qualified individually for the state championships three times during her prep career. Brittany O’Reilly joins her sister on the roster for the upcoming year as well. A two-time state qualifier, she helped Southwest High School to a 30-3 record overall as a senior.
The fall schedule opens on September 16 at Wayne State before the Crusaders head to Rose-Hulman two days later. Valpo will host Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) on September 23 before participating in the Mastodon Invitational in Fort Wayne, Ind. October 2-3. With such a young team, the fall schedule should help transition the newcomers to collegiate tennis while providing the team the opportunity to build a base for the spring championship season.