May 6, 2013
MADISON, Wis. – Though the Wisconsin women’s tennis team fought through its fair share of challenges this season, better times look to be just around the corner for a young team filled with potential.
The Badgers finished the season with a disappointing 5-18 record – including a 3-8 mark in Big Ten play – but flashed signs of future success throughout the season.
After Caroline Bauer left the team and Nova Patel was lost for the season with a knee injury, UW was left with just one healthy upperclassman, senior Hannah Berner. The Wisconsin captain was an incredibly powerful influence on her Badger teammates both on and off the courts, compiling a team-leading eight singles wins in dual matches, and defeating three ranked opponents.
But the season highlights weren’t limited to only Berner, as several freshmen made their marks on the season. Lauren Chypyha lived up to lofty expectations in her first year in Madison, solidifying the Wisconsin lineup from her spot at No. 1 doubles and No. 2 singles. When Berner missed a pair of matches with an injury of her own, Chypyha stepped into her spot at No. 1 singles and held her own – a good experience for a player who looks like a lock at the top of the singles lineup for seasons to come.
Anastasia Tripolskaya also made huge strides. After joining the Badgers midway through the season, the Moscow native rocketed up the singles lineup, moving all the way up to No. 3 singles. With another year to adjust to life in America and a full offseason under her belt, the future looks very bright for the freshman.
Katie Hoch and Lauren Burich each had big moments for the Badgers. Burich brought consistent performances to the middle of the singles lineup, and her season highlight came when she rallied from an early deficit to take the No. 4 singles match from Caitlin Hindmarsh, 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-2, clinching a thrilling Senior Day win over Iowa, 4-3.
Hoch was very versatile for UW, competing in every singles slot from No. 2-5. Though her season, in particular, was full of ups and downs, she proved that she could compete with anyone with matches like her 6-2, 6-1 defeat of Marquette’s Rocio Diaz at No. 2 singles, and a 6-4, 1-6, 1-0 (10-5) victory over Mississippi State’s Naomi Tran at No. 3.
Helen Rabot and Pernilla Wohlstrom combined to round out the bottom of UW’s singles lineup. Competing predominantly at No. 6 singles, Rabot keyed a pair of Wisconsin wins with her performances against UIC’s Keti Mebuke, who she defeated, 6-3, 6-7(1), 1-0 (10-8), and Ohio State’s Nicole Flower, who she bested, 6-4, 7-5. Wohlstrom stepped in for the Badgers at the No. 6 singles spot in six spring matches, but her best moments came in the fall season, where she won a pair of matches.
The Badgers also made big strides on the doubles side as the season progressed. After dropping the first six doubles points of the season, UW won four of the next 13 doubles points, including a major doubles breakthrough against No. 52 Ohio State on April 5.
Despite their 3-8 conference record, the Badgers managed to improve its final conference standing from a year ago, going from a 10th-place finish to tying for eighth-place this season. With almost every player returning next season, there’s no reason not to expect an even bigger jump.
Patel will return from injury to provide a steadying influence at the top of the lineup, and each of the freshmen will be a year older and more experienced. Eighty-six percent of Wisconsin’s 58 dual match singles and doubles wins last season involved a freshman, far and away the highest mark in the Big Ten.
With a talented, more experienced team next season, the future looks bright for the Badgers.