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Young tennis squad takes to the courts

September 21, 2006

After finishing fourth in WIAC one year ago, seventh-year Head Coach Lee Lueck and his young Falcon tennis team are looking to improve and grow.

This season, Lueck coaches a team with only two upperclassmen. The other nine players are freshmen and sophomores.

“I think we’re doing as good as we expected,” Lueck said. “Maybe even a little better.”

Lueck said the team is dedicated, and he has been impressed with the players’ work ethic.

“We started the season with 11 players, and now we’re starting the fourth week and we still have 11 players,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever coached a team that has not lost a player. They’re extremely cooperative and quick learners.”

The Falcons are currently sitting at a 2-4 record and are 0-1 in the WIAC conference.

Lueck has come up with a three-tier system in the conference. He said the top tier consists of UW-Whitewater, UW-La Crosse and UW-Eau Claire. They are three teams that he has never beaten and are consistent conference champions.

The bottom tier has teams that Lueck has never lost to, including UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout and UW-Oshkosh.

The middle tier has the remaining conference teams, including the Falcons.

“Four years in a row I’ve been in the middle tier,” Lueck said. “This year we’re susceptible to dropping down into the lower one.”

The team traveled 25 minutes to St. Thomas on Tuesday and lost the match 8-1. Lone senior and captain Becky Briese and freshman Katie Ostrowski earned the Falcons’ only point through a doubles match.

Leading up to the St. Thomas match, the Falcons had not only a difficult schedule, but a full one as well.

On Saturday, the Falcons held a double-header at home against UW-Whitewater and St. Mary’s University.

The Falcons lost 8-1 to Whitewater and beat St. Mary’s 9-0. Tracy Boyle, who was playing in the No. 6 singles slot, picked up the only point in the loss.

The Falcons had their first home match against Ripon Sept. 15 and won 9-0, picking up their first win of the season.

Prior to the win against Ripon, the Falcons opened their season with a weekend on the road at St. Lawrence and St. Norbert. Lawrence narrowly beat the Falcons by a 5-4 margin, however, they lost 7-2 to Norbert.

Briese has made an impact on the Falcon team since she started here as a freshman. In her four years, she went from playing No. 6 singles, to No. 1. Players, like her doubles partner Ostrowski, have said she is great to work with.

“Becky is the best captain I’ve ever had; she’s always there for you,” Ostrowski said. “She’s a great person and a great leader.”

Ostrowski enjoys playing here.

“Everyone’s a lot more relaxed,” she said. “In high school you can feel the tension, but here you do your hardest and have fun doing it.”

She also said the schedule here is much more intense than in high school. She also commented on the number of matches played in a week and how it varies from high school.

“Coming into the season, I didn’t know what to expect,” Ostrowski said. “I just had to work really hard. My goal is to do the best and go for what I can do and improve my backhand.”

On Saturday, the Falcons travel to Stevens Point. The Falcons return home Monday for a 4:30 p.m. match with Bethel.