Tennis girls look to be golden
By Rob Schmidt
DO IT, PUT YOUR WRIST INTO IT. As Mike Richards looks
on, a member of the women's tennis team returns a serve
at last weekend's Mustang Invitational tournament.
The Western Mustangs women's tennis team's future never looked
This year's squad will remain remarkably similar to last year's
silver medal team with five of six starters returning. Richard
Ivey School of Business students Jacqueline Green and Diana
Hanson should fill the spot in the number one doubles position.
Also returning are Heather Bialkowski and Jennifer Vryvogel.
The most notable loss for the Mustangs is last year's team
MVP Jennifer Lester, who solidified the line-up with a solid
ground game playing the number three and four positions. Freshman
Julia Creider, a London Central Secondary School grad and first
year science student has less experience, but has shown great
potential by finishing as a runner-up in last year's high school
While Creider has only been playing for a few years, her athleticism
and work ethic should slot her into the middle of the Western
line-up with room to improve and move up throughout the rest
of her Western career.
Although there is no one superstar that has emerged from the
team, they look to be one of the deepest in recent memory with
players one through nine all looking as if they should see some
action this year.
While the team's depth and the return of most of the key players
has been great for women's tennis at Western, the most promising
sign seems to be the return of head coach Mike Richards and
his assistant German Rozo.
Richards, a University of Louisiana-Lafeyette grad and former
Canadian junior doubles champion, has provided great leadership
and has brought a wealth of knowledge to the Western tennis
As the women had previously employed three coaches in three
years, Richards has brought some sorely needed structure and
stability to the team.
Beginning this year Ontario University Athletics has scaled
back the tennis season from a full seven-week season with an
individual championship to two weekends, which include a qualifying
tournament and the OUA team championship.
However, the decreased OUA schedule has not stopped Richards
from getting some competition time for his team.
Starting last week, the women played a competitive match against
the University of Detroit, where the girls posted three singles
victories, including a victory from Creider.
Richards has also set up matches against several other schools,
including dates at Bowling Green University and Wayne State
University in Michigan.
Despite the dismantling of the formal OUA schedule, Richards
and the team seem to be showing the London sporting community
varsity tennis is alive and well.
The Mustangs next competition will be Fri., Oct. 3 and Sat.,
Oct. 4, when they welcome Laurier, McGill and McMaster to the
University Community Centre.