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Falcon tennis looking to fly high in ’08

September 25, 2008

The 2008 season will bring new challenges to the Falcon tennis team, but with a 3-0 start already under their belt, the Falcons intend to keep their winning ways through veteran leadership and a strong work ethic. 

One of the biggest challenges facing the Falcons is losing last years WIAC singles and doubles champion Kozue Matsumoto. Falcon tennis coach Lee Lueck said he understands the significance of losing a player of this magnitude.

“Losing Kozue Matsumoto to New Orleans University on a full ride scholarship has forced every player up one position,” Lueck said. “It will take time for each player to adjust to this new level of play.”

Time the Falcons may not have. 

Throughout the years, the WIAC has consistently produced stiff competition for the Falcons. 

Lueck said he expects UW-Whitewater to be the team to beat in 2008.

“With a quality coach, located in a prime recruiting area (Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago), and with outstanding indoor and outdoor facilities, they are posed for years to come as a power in the WIAC.”

As the Falcons look ahead in the season, they will be dependent on a few familiar faces to help carry the load. One of those faces being junior Katie Ostrowski. Ostrowski, WIAC’s doubles champion from last year, will replace her former doubles partner Matsumoto as the Falcons new number-one singles player. 

With Ostrowski leading the way, the Falcons will also look for strong veteran leadership from their two senior co-captains, Katie Anderson and Mindy Rudiger, and quality play from junior Lindsay Gillman. 

“I think we are going to have a lot of close matches and if we fight hard, which I know we can, then we’ll be able to pull out wins,” Gillman said. “I also want to fight as hard as I can in every match, I want to walk away, win or lose, and feel like I did everything I could to push my opponent.”

The Falcons start a tough conference stretch this weekend, with three meets in two days agaisnt UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point and a non-conference bout against Concordia. 

Only time will tell how good the UWRF Falcon tennis can be in 2008, but Lueck said he is confident in his team.

“All 13 players understand that improving in tennis is a process and that there will be many peaks and valleys during that process,” he said. “Being the smallest university in the tennis WIAC, I am very proud of how my players force every team to bring out their best.”