Feb. 18, 2003
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Desire and motivation are the key factors this season as the Cowgirl Tennis team looks to open the 2003 spring season. Wyoming will not only bring an experienced upperclass, but welcomes a good mix of freshmen to the line-up as head tennis coach Pam Wildt enters her fourth season at the helm.
Four letterwinners and three newcomers will lead the Cowgirls into their seventh season of existence. Five individuals competed this fall in the Central Region Tennis Championships, including freshmen Patricia Chien and Megan Williams. With all of the returning veteran players and the addition of the newcomers, Wyoming will look to improve on a 6-15 overall record and 1-6 mark in the conference. Though last year's record didn't always show it, Wyoming played good tennis against a challenging schedule and had some close matches, and their expectations will be even higher this year.
"The squad is diverse with the players coming from all over the country and the world with three international students," said head coach Pam Wildt. "They have a lot of dedication, are motivated to play and have done a great job in their strength and conditioning in order to make themselves better players. Our common goal as a team is to have a winning season. After one of the best fall seasons, each player had success individually, so they will be ready to play as a team. Everyone has the ability and motivation to make this a winning season, and the dedication is a team challenge."
The 2002-03 squad is made up of one senior, three juniors and three freshmen. With a couple of seasons and recruiting classes under her belt, Wildt feels this team can really go places.
"Our motivation as a team will be to improve the individual game of each player, which will in turn help the team overall," she added. "As a squad we will only improve as long as they remember their individual duties. The 2002-03 season will be very exciting to watch and see if we can come together and fight for each other each day. With six players, we need outstanding physical stamina, mental toughness and staying healthy will definitely be a key. The team is a talented balance of players, and the older players will be positive role models leading by example with competitive tenacity and patience."
Several individuals will be biding for the top spot this year, including the Cowgirls only senior Kati Gyulai. In only her second season with the program, Gyulai was the only Cowgirl player to qualify for the main draw at the Central Region Tennis Championships this past fall.
"As our only senior, Kati will have to pull the weight of the team. She is a confident and strong willed player, which is valuable to the outcome of matches. She will have to compete with other players for the top shot, and if she handles that spot well it will have a positive outcome on the other members of the team."
Juniors Jen Hancock and Yuliani Santi also return for the Cowgirls and both look to have break-out seasons. Santi posted an 8-6 overall record in the fall, even winning her first three matches in the Central Region Tennis Championship Qualifying round before falling in the round of 64 in the main draw. She is the only player in Cowgirl history to win three rounds at the Championships and make it into the main draw. Hancock will also be going for one of the top spots in the line-up, as she has really made great improvements over the last couple of years, as she posted an overall mark of 6-8 in the fall. Junior Toni Terhaar also joins the group of upperclassmen, but has been hampered because of injuries this year. She continues to work hard in order to return to her old form and help the program in the future.
Newcomers Patricia Chien, Gwen Moser and Megan Williams round out the Cowgirl tennis roster. Chien, a freshman from Dixon, Calif., had an outstanding fall by posting a 6-4 overall singles mark. She has a lot of power and is a great baseline player. Chien also won two rounds at the Regionals in the qualifier, but fell short in a tiebreaking third set in order to qualify for the main draw. Moser, who was out for the fall hampered by a shoulder injury, is a freshman from Williamstown, W.V. She is a great all-around singles player and a very aggressive doubles player, which will add a lot to this line-up. Freshman Megan Williams, from Vancouver, B.C., showed the most improvement of any Cowgirl player during the fall. In just her first season of competition, she finished with a 5-6 singles mark.
"I'm very excited to see how well these girls are prepared and what they're personal and team goals are for the season. The strides this team will make this year depends greatly on how the team chemistry goes."
The Cowgirls will also have a challenging non-conference schedule against some very high powered tennis programs like Creighton, Nebraska, Hawai'i, and West Virginia. The spring schedule kicks off February 1 and 2 with matches versus Wichita State and Nebraska. Wyoming hosts five matches this season including Northern Colorado and Creighton, Feb. 15-16 in Cheyenne, two conference match-ups against BYU, April 11, and Utah, April 12, and another non-conference dual against Montana, April 18, all to be held in Laramie. UW will meet Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, and UNLV all on the road. This year's Mountain West Conference Championships will be hosted by San Diego State in San Diego, Calif., April 24-26.
"The non-conference schedule is definitely solid, " said Wildt. "It's good to play teams throughout the nation to see how we compare against other teams we normally wouldn't see. We are on the verge of a breakthrough year and it is important to play tough competition in order to prepare for the conference season. We look to build upon last year's record and surprise a couple of teams not ready for us. Overall, we will stay positive if losses or injuries occur, always looking to support the next player and show how well we can play together as a team."
With all of the pieces falling in place, Head Coach Pam Wildt and the Cowgirls will no doubt be an exciting team to watch this spring, and look to make great strides in their game.
"The extreme competitiveness of the three freshmen is a definite bonus, and the eagerness of each player to win is what will drive Wyoming tennis to the next level. Our outlook is to remember that each match before the conference season is a challenge and we're ready to take it."