Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Friday, February 25, 2005
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One might think that losing the winningest group of seniors in team history to graduation would lead to a rebuilding year for the Muhlenberg women’s tennis team. After all, these players helped lead the Mules to an outstanding 2004 season, in which they went 12-3 overall, 10-0 in conference action, and claimed their first ever outright CC title.

However, expectations for the Mules in 2005 are still very high as they prepare to begin the season on Saturday with a home match against Moravian. Much of the reason for the optimism is because although a good part of last year’s championship squad has departed, some key players do remain from the 2004 team that finished the season 28th in Division III and eighth in the South Atlantic region.

“We have lost a lot of players,” said senior Emily Oster, referring to the five seniors from last year’s team that graduated with a combined 337-162 record in their careers, and who hold the first,
Amy Schmidt
Schmidt has an .809 career winning percentage (55-13), fourth best in team history.
second, fifth, and sixth spots on the Mules all-time list for wins. “Our lineup is a lot different from last year, but what’s great is that we have some really strong returning players and the freshmen have fit in real nicely.”

The Mules definitely will not suffer a drop off at the top of the lineup, where three players who combined for 67 spring dual match wins in 2004 are back.

Junior Amy Schmidt, fresh off a 24-5 overall record in 2004, should get most of the playing time at number one singles and doubles. She recorded 14 singles wins, setting a new team record last season, and advanced to the finals in both singles and doubles at the Centennial Conference Individual Championships. Oster, the only senior on the squad and the team captain, has the most career wins of any player on the roster. She has 33 doubles wins, and needs only seven more to break the team record for most doubles victories in a career. A fixture at number four singles and number two doubles a year ago, sophomore Pam Kimmelman, will move up in both lineups this year. She was 24-4 last spring (11-2 in singles matches and 13-2 in doubles matches).

Junior Stacy Lipschutz and sophomore Kelly Fraser, both of whom were on the roster a year ago, but didn’t see that much playing time, should see their roles increase dramatically. Rounding out the roster will be three freshmen, who will be expected to make an immediate impact.

Muhlenberg’s schedule is tough, befitting a team that has clearly become one to be reckoned with in the last couple of years. The Mules will compete against four teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last year (New Jersey, Mary Washington, Salisbury and Swarthmore) and will also face two of the three teams that dealt them losses last season (Mary Washington and New Jersey).

The Mules dominated in conference matches a year ago, shutting out six out of their 10 conference opponents, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how the conference standings will shape up this year. Much like the Mules, the rosters of other CC teams have also been revamped because of key players graduating. Only three players selected to the 2004 All-Centennial Conference team are back in action this year. Schmidt is the Mules only returning player who was picked for the team, and the other two play for Swarthmore, which probably makes the Garnet the biggest hurdle for the Mules as they pursue another conference title.

“As always, my expectations are very high,” said Oster. “We won two conference championships since I’ve been here and I expect my third one to be this year.”

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Last updated February 25, 2005