As the 2008 women’s tennis season opens for Valparaiso University, first year head coach Jay Adams, looks to lead the Crusaders into their first season of Horizon League competition. Valpo will face new competition this season with the move from the Mid-Continent Conference, and will be looking to build upon success from the final years in the old league.
Adams returns to his alma mater, where he was a part of the men’s program from 2001-2004. A team captain as a senior, he was a part of the Crusaders’ 2002 Mid-Con championship team.
Adams took over a Valpo program which went 11-10 overall and 5-2 in the Mid-Continent Conference last spring, and after working with the team all fall, hopes to propel the Brown and Gold into the spring dual match season. Adams’ squad is young, though, as Valpo is void of any seniors and will be led by five juniors on the courts.
Two-time Second Team All Mid-Con selection Kim Sajevic won her final six contests last spring, but missed the fall portion of the campaign while studying abroad. Sajevic posted a 14-10 record overall last year, including a perfect 5-0 league mark playing mainly third singles.
Sajevic has won 27 singles matches thus far in her career, and did not drop a match in two seasons of Mid-Con play. She has steadily moved up the lineup throughout her career, playing at the fifth and sixth spot as a rookie before moving to second and third singles last year. This year she will be called upon to move up even higher in the Valpo lineup.
Juniors Jenny Schwartz and Lindsey Gustafson were both regulars in the starting six for Valpo last spring as well, and will be called upon to move up in the lineup this year. Schwartz won 11 singles contests for the Crusaders during her sophomore season while Gustafson added eight victories.
Schwartz played number one singles for a pair of dual matches this past fall, splitting at the top spot. A Mid-Con Athlete of the Week last season, she played mainly sixth singles as a freshman before moving to the fifth spot last year.
Gustafson played exclusively sixth singles as a sophomore for the Brown and Gold, but moved up to the third position this past fall. She split her dual matches at that spot.
Molly Keifer notched a 6-2 record last year for the Brown and Gold while Lauren Kloostra had a 2-1 mark during the 2006 fall season but did not play last spring. Both juniors will look for bigger roles on the team this year. Keifer played at the second spot this fall, while Kloostra saw action at number six singles. As upperclassmen now, they will both be called upon to help this spring.
Julie Wingstrom mainly played as a doubles specialist during her rookie season for the Crusaders, competing at the top of the doubles lineup. She teamed to win eight matches during her freshman season, and, with a year under her belt, is more adapt to collegiate tennis heading into her second season. The sophomore did play singles during the fall tournament at Toledo, going 1-1 for the event.
Sophomores Christine Antrobus and Camill Burden each joined the team during the fall season as well, in addition to freshmen Laura Lawson and Jackie O’Reilly. The four newcomers will all saw some action this fall, and will be looking to make their way into the lineup this spring.
Antrobus played in the fourth spot of the Crusader lineup during the fall while Lawson played at number five singles. Burden and O’Reilly each saw tournament action in singles, with O’Reilly also teaming with Kloostra in doubles action at the third spot.
The 2008 spring season will open on January 27 as the Crusaders head to Eastern Illinois. Following a road contest at Ball State, Valpo will open the home portion of the campaign on February 9 against Bradley at Matchpoint Racquet Club.
The Brown and Gold heads south to Orlando, Florida over spring break for three matches before returning north to begin the outdoor home schedule against Indiana Wesleyan at the Valparaiso University Tennis Complex. Home non-conference matches against Oakland and IPFW follow before the Crusaders open Horizon League play on April 4 against instate rival Butler.
An eight-match conference slate will prepare the Crusaders for the Horizon League Championships, which will be held April 25-27 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The upcoming season marks a change from the past for the Valparaiso Crusaders. With a new coach, a youthful team, and a new conference, excitement will surround the tennis courts this coming spring as the Brown and Gold look to make their mark in the Horizon League.