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Women’s Tennis Ready for Challenge

Missouri Western’s tennis season is underway, and things are already looking up from last year.

The 2010 tennis season is well behind coach Ron Selkirk and his team. The season is over; done; finished. The 2011 season has started and there could not be better news surrounding the tennis team.

Last year, finishing with a record of 0-7 in the conference and 3-15 overall, Western did not look anywhere near a team ready for the MIAA tournament. They drew the number one seed, Northwest Missouri, and was ousted 5-0.

In just the first two weeks of competition for the 2011 season, Western has won two games, just one less than the total of last season, and already looks more competitive. This is definitely something coach Selkirk can build on.

“We’re doing pretty good,” Selkirk said. “I would have liked to have been (undefeated), but they’re things to build on.”

Western defeated Lincoln (Mo.) on Feb. 25, a team they lost to 8-1 a year ago. Not only did Western get payback against Lincoln, but they also took care of Morningside 7-2, a team that they defeated last year.

Senior Mindy Buschbom, who is planning on majoring in physical education, knows this is her last year and is ready for the rest of the season.

“I want to win more games,” Buschbom said. “For me personally I want to win more singles and doubles.”

Buschbom did not play on the team last year but will be looked at as a leader for her final season. She was not eligible to play last year becaue of credit hours. Being back on the team is great for Western because she will add to the team.

“I like everyone; we all get along,” Buschbom said. “We are all like the same person. As for the coach, he is a great coach. He’s always getting us feed back on what to do.”

Western has a favorable schedule early on. They already defeated two of the four teams they played. They lost 7-2 to Johnson County Community College, a team that finished 4-11 in the regular season last year before making a run for the Region 6 title, taking second. Now they play Emporia State, who finished 6th in the conference last season, and Baker University.

The schedule gets tougher in the middle of the year, as Western has to travel to Iowa to play Graceland University, go to Maryville to play last years regular season conference champions Northwest and also go to Topeka to play the defending conference tournament champions Washburn University.

“Playing the conference as a whole, it’s tough; there are some good teams so good competition,” Selkirk said.

Western has four freshman who were not part of last years dismal season. This includes Erin Ward, Sophia Robertson, Katherine Guinn and Katie Field. Continuing down the roster, Western has the only sophomore on the team, Nicole Kerr and junior Alecia Jenkins. Western has two seniors, the aforementioned Buschbom and Sarah Hatten, a public relations major who transferred to the team after attending the University of Oregon.

Last season, Selkirk talked great about how well Hatten played during her single’s matches. If she can continue donig that this season, she will help Western get more wins.

According to the MIAA website, the women’s tennis division did not have one team finish in the regional rankings last year. However, Selkirk thinks there is great competition for his team this year.

“We beat Lincoln so we’re already 1-0,” Selkirk said. “That is a good thing; getting the monkey off our back because we finally won a conference game.”

Look for Western to rebound from a poor 2010 season and gain great experience from a young team in 2011. With leadership from both Buschbom and Hatten, as well as quailty play, Western is capable of upsetting some teams. If they can do that then the 2011 season will be much more enduring and easier to manage than the year before.

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