Tennis starts spring season
By Joelle Milholm
Ram tennis is back in action.
CSU will kickoff its spring season on Saturday against Drake University and then be at it again in a match against No. 66 Nebraska on Sunday.
“We have been training hard and we are ready to go out there and do the best we can do,” sophomore Dasha Zhurin said.
The Rams have a 5-1 record against Nebraska under head coach Jon Messick and will see Drake for the first time.
In the fall, CSU went 33-34 in singles as a team, 12-17 in doubles. Messick is counting on the team’s previous success to route them through their difficult schedule.
“We’ve got an extremely tough schedule, almost half of our games are against ranked opponents,” Messick said. “I really think our season offers a great opportunity for us. If we can do well, we may be able to move into the rankings.”
Between seasons the team took some time from playing on the court and focused on conditioning and weightlifting.
CSU expects another standout season from lone senior Sanja Hansson. She won 12 out of 14 singles matches, all of which were in a row, and won the BYU and Drake Invitationals in the fall.
“Sanja played with a lot of confidence this fall. She established herself as one of the top players in the region,” Messick said. “She should be a great benefit to our team as we enter our spring dual-match season.”
Hansson, a Sweden native, is currently ranked 12th in the Central Region and her ranking is the highest by a women’s tennis player in CSU history. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association lists the top 30 players in the Central Region, which is made up of 33 institutions representing 10 different conferences.
During the off-season, Messick made some changes to the roster. He hopes the addition of freshman Anna-Lee Bryant from St. George, Barbados, will benefit the team.
“Anna-Lee will add depth to our team,” Messick said. “She is a powerful hitter and offers a strong serve.”
CSU also signed Charity Malone from Cherry Creek High School in Englewood to join the team for the fall season of 2002 to 03.
An advantage to the Ram schedule is the six home matches compared to one last year.
“It is nice to play at home and get some support from around Fort Collins,” Zhurin said. “It is always an advantage to play at home.”
After facing Drake and Nebraska, CSU will return for its first home match on Feb. 15 against Creighton University.