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Muhlenberg College

Monday, March 23, 2009

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Season Preview
women’s tennis starts up again

Usually the college tennis season is divided into two parts – the fall and the spring. But for the Muhlenberg women’s team, the 2008-09 year has three parts – fall, late winter and spring.

The Mules played their normal limited fall schedule, consisting of two tournaments and one dual match. At the end of February, they played a pair of
Jenn Powell
Powell has a career doubles record of 37-22.
matches against nationally ranked New Jersey and Vassar.

Now, more than three weeks later, the team is ready to resume its season, beginning with tomorrow’s home match against Ursinus.

Muhlenberg lost both February matches, 8-1 to No. 22 TCNJ and 6-3 to No. 23 Vassar. In the process, however, the Mules learned what they need to do going into the “real” season.

“We only won one of our doubles matches, so we’ve really been working
Carly Rotfeld
Rotfeld leads all active players in combined career wins with 72.
on doubles,” said senior Carly Rotfeld. “We go off campus every Friday and do different doubles drills that help us prepare for the match.”

The Mules, who are ranked 10th in the Atlantic South Region, also got some confidence out of the two indoor matches.

“We knew going in they would be tough matches. We kind of went out there with no pressure,” explained Rotfeld. “[Against Vassar] last year we lost 9-0 and this year we won three matches. It lets us know that we have improved from last year.”

Muhlenberg can make an easy comparison to last year because it has virtually the same team that produced a 9-5 overall record and finished third in the Centennial Conference with an 8-2 mark. Only one starter, the No. 6 singles player, graduated, and there are no freshmen on the team.

“Our team has gotten really close since we’ve been playing together for two years now,” said Rotfeld. “We didn’t have someone new come in to interfere with the lineup.”

Senior Jenn Powell returns to the top of that lineup. She earned All-CC honors for both singles and doubles (with Rotfeld) last year, going 7-2 in the CC. Sophomore Caitie Druker had an outstanding rookie year, leading the team with a spring dual-match record of 10-3 at No. 2 singles.

Rotfeld, who entered her senior year with a 41-14 singles record, and sophomore Sara Sutker, 11-6 last year, take up the middle third of the ladder. Sophomore Danielle Winston returns at No. 5, and doubles partner Lindsay Schmidt moves into No. 6. As a doubles team, Winston and Schmidt were 15-4 last year and have combined for a 10-1 mark thus far in 2008-09, winning both the F&M Fall Invitational and the ITA Southeast Regional blue draw.

The Mules face two crucial matches in the next eight days: Saturday at home vs. No. 21 Johns Hopkins, the defending CC champion, and next Tuesday at Swarthmore, who ended their season last year in the semifinals of the league playoffs.

“We’ve made some improvements,” said Rotfeld. “We’re optimistic.”

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