Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Womens tennis team prepares for season with new expectations

September 28, 2000

Going into the fall season, women’s tennis head coach Tim Bauer is remaining optimistic even though his team will face an uphill climb.

After finishing 2-14 overall and 0-10 in the Big Ten last year, Bauer only has four scholarship players out of 15 total athletes this season.

“This is going to be a developmental year,” Bauer said. “We’re going to struggle for results. We could have very few wins this season and it could still be a great success.”

Last season the Spartans could only muster tight wins over Illinois-Chicago and Florida A&M, while being dominated in conference play.

MSU was shut out in all six of the Big Ten dual meets they played, and once again in the first round of the Big Ten Championships. The team also had to forfeit four conference matches because injuries dwindled an already small team to the point where they could not even fill all the slots.

“We had 10 girls on the team last year, but because of injuries, there were times when we had less than six healthy,” Bauer said.

MSU will be led this season by senior Natasha Skogerboe and freshman Josie Schumde. Skogerboe is the only scholarship player with any significant experience and will “likely” play No. 1 singles, Bauer said. She played mostly at No. 2 and No. 3 last year.

Bauer took over the Spartans in January after serving as an assistant coach at Florida State. Because he wasn’t hired until two months after recruit signing day, MSU did not bring in a recruiting class this August.

“We’re at a disadvantage in the Big Ten because of how the recruiting process went,” Bauer said. “I brought in a transfer and a walk-on, but if you’re looking for results, that won’t be until next August.”

Bauer plans to have two recruits join the team in January and four more next August.

“I’m excited about the fact that we’re headed in the right direction. Our players have a good attitude and they’re learning. The important point is to stress where this program is going. The things that are happening are all the right things.”

Although expectations are low this year, Bauer has high hopes for the future of the Spartan tennis squad.

“I’m trying to turn things around in 18 months,” Bauer said. “At Florida State, we went from nothing to top 20 in the country in three years. If we sign everyone I’m hoping to get, we’ll go from last in the Big Ten to competing at the top of the conference.”

However, Bauer was sure not to downplay the importance of this year’s campaign.

“When we have a lot of success next year, people will look back at this season and see that this is where the standard was set. We’ll see the results as years go by. If you don’t have a building year like this one, you won’t have success in the future.”

The team will host the season-opening Spartan Cup tournament on Oct. 6-8. MSU will compete against Toledo, Illinois-Chicago, Miami University and Eastern Michigan at the event.

Bauer said the Spartan Cup will provide valuable experience to an untested team.

“We’ll get to play a lot of our players in the event and that will get them some invaluable experience,” Bauer said. “I think our top two players will have some good wins.”


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