Dec. 5, 2011
Fall season in review
In four tournament appearances this fall, the Wisconsin women's tennis team compiled a singles record of 41-33, while posting a 22-15 mark in doubles action.
All eight Badgers on the roster competed in doubles play throughout the fall, while seven different players saw singles action.
In singles, Wisconsin was led by sophomores Caroline Bauer and Nicky Stracar. The sophomores each finished with impressive 9-4 singles marks.
"Nicky and Caroline really competed hard," UW head coach Brian Fleishman said. "With both having a 9-4 singles record it showed that all of their hard work and dedication paid off on game day."
Stracar competed at the ITA Midwest Regional in Columbus, Ohio, where she received a No. 8 seed in the qualifying round. The sophomore lived up to her seed and was the lone Badger representative in the main draw at the regional.
The Jericho, N.Y., native reached the third round in the main draw before being defeated by the third-seed, Sam Critser of Michigan.
Both Bauer and Stracar were crowned flight champions at the Green and White Invitational.
Bauer captured the flight D championship after pulling out a three-set victory over Katie Grubb of Bowling Green, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(3). In the semifinals, Bauer prevailed in a first set tiebreak before taking the second set from Eastern Michigan's Marcela Rivero, 7-6 (6), 6-4. In the opening round, Bauer cruised past Lauren Pickrel of Ball State, 6-0, 6-0.
Stracar was named flight A champion after defeating Michigan State's Valentina Rusakova, 6-2, 7-5 in the finals. Before reaching the championship round, Stracar topped Courtney Wild of Ball State, 6-2, 6-0 and Eastern Michigan's Nino Mebuke, 6-2, 6-2.
"I got match toughness and experience," Stracar said. "I also got some good matches under my belt and built up some confidence for the coming spring season."
Freshman Sarah Loebel made her Wisconsin debut at the Gopher Invitational where she went 2-2. At the alternate regional in Rockford, Ill., Oct. 23, the freshman posted a perfect 3-0 mark and was crowned champion fo the NIU singles flight. Loebel finished the fall season with a 5-5 singles record and 3-7 doubles mark.
The Badgers wrapped up the fall season with an overall doubles mark of 22-15. Senior Alaina Trgovich led the Badgers with a 10-3 finish.
Stracar and Trgovich paired up nine times throughout the fall, posting an impressive 7-2 mark. The duo went 3-0 at the Green and White Invite and was crowned flight champions.
Stracar and Trgovich represented the only Wisconsin doubles team in the main draw at the ITA Midwest Regional, where they fell in the second round to finish 1-1.
The senior duo of Aleksandra Markovic and Angela Chupa also posted a perfect record at the Green and White Invitational en route to capturing a flight championship.
The Badgers wrapped up the fall season by dominating the playing field at the Green and White Invitational, Nov. 4-6, in East Lansing, Mich. At the Invitational, UW recorded 18 victories while suffering just three defeats. Wisconsin went 10-2 in singles and 8-1 in doubles action.
Stracar and Bauer led the Badgers with unblemished 3-0 performances en route to capturing flight championships. The duos of Stracar and Trgovich and Markovic and senior Angela Chupa were perfect and earned flight championships for their efforts.
Fall tournament results
The Badgers opened the fall season at the Gopher Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 16-18. All seven Wisconsin singles players recorded at least two victories at the invitational as UW posted a 15-12 singles mark at the tournament.
On the doubles side, the duo of Trgovich and Stracar reached the championship match after winning their first three matches. However, the pair fell in the finals. The Badger doubles team of junior Hannah Berner and Markovic were named consolation champions.
Wisconsin competed at the Wildcat Invitational, in Winnetka, Ill., Sept. 30-Oct. 2, where the team met its greatest challenge of the fall season. In singles, Wisconsin dropped 13 of its 18 matches. However, five of the 13 losses extended to three sets and another three were lost in third set tiebreaks. Bauer and Berner led the Badgers with 2-1 performances.
UW bounced back from a disappointing showing at the Wildcat Invitational with an impressive performance in its next outing. Stracar, Markovic and Trgovich traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to compete at the ITA Midwest Regional, Oct. 20-23. Markovic and Stracar represented Wisconsin in singles play. Markovic suffered two early losses and was ousted early on. Stracar, meanwhile, earned the No. 8 seed and did not disappoint. The sophomore advanced to the third round of the main draw, before falling to the three-seed.
Stracar and Trgovich paired up and represented UW in the doubles field, finishing 1-1.
Wisconsin also sent three to compete at the alternate regional hosted by Northern Illinois in Rockford, Ill., Oct. 21-23. In Rockford, Loebel and Bauer posted perfect 3-0 singles performances and captured flight championships.
"We just need to keep working on our weaknesses and improve our strengths," Fleishman said. "The fall let us see how far we need to go and what we need to work on. I know we improved as a team in the fall."
Leader in Gruber
Senior Lauren Gruber was named captain of the 2011-12 Badger squad. After playing her rookie season at Delaware, Gruber began her career at Wisconsin in 2009. Since coming to UW, the senior has compiled a singles record of 22-14, while posting an 11-14 doubles mark. Last season, Gruber was named the Team's Strength and Conditioning Lifter of the Year.
Gruber looks forward to leading Wisconsin this season.
"I think that this fall we ended the season on a great note with strong performances by everyone that played in the Michigan State Invite," she said. "The biggest thing that we can take away from the fall season is how hard we have worked building our strength and endurance and how this will carry over into a long spring season. Our aim in this training is to still see our best results at the end of the season."
2011-12 roster breakdown
The Badgers return seven from the 2010-11 squad, while adding one newcomer. Half of Wisconsin's current eight-man roster is composed of seniors. Trgovich, Markovic, Gruber and Chupa make up the Badger seniors. Berner is the lone junior class representative on this year's roster. Stracar and Bauer both return to represent the sophomore class. Loebel, a freshman, is the only addition to last year's team.
Wisconsin looks to carry its falls success into the spring campaign, which is scheduled to kick off Jan. 21 at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison. Throughout the spring, Wisconsin will play host to six non-conference opponents including Eastern Michigan, UIC, Green Bay, Milwaukee, DePaul and North Carolina State.
The Badgers also host Big Ten foes Minnesota, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana and wrap up the regular season against Nebraska. Meanwhile, UW will travel to Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Iowa to face its remaining Big Ten opponents.
"I always look forward to Big Ten season and competing with all of the schools in the conference," Fleishman said. "The out of conference schedule is a good one and will give us opportunities to prepare for a run in conference play."
As part of the 2012 schedule, the Badgers will also face BYU, Utah, Marquette, Old Dominion and William & Mary away from Madison.
Ohio State is scheduled to host the 2012 Big Ten tournament, April 26-29, in Columbus, Ohio.
The Badgers are scheduled to kick off the 2011 season with a doubleheader matchup against Eastern Michigan and UIC on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium. Wisconsin will wrap up opening weekend with competitions against Green Bay and Milwaukee on Jan. 22, also at Nielsen.
"This team will fight for every point and never give up," Fleishman said. "When we step on the court, I want the opponents to know that we are going to stay out there until the job is done. Effort and intensity will be the main factors in our success."