Aug 292007

The 2007 CSU women’s tennis season started slowly, thanks to uncontrollable circumstances.

Heavy rain Tuesday forced the team’s second practice to be held in Moby Arena. As the football team ran through plays on the court, the nine women of the tennis team ran around the mezzanine.

Long-time coach Jon Messick told his players afterward that the practice was one of the most unusual ever.

But as the fall semester continues, the girls know they have at least 70 days of practice and three tournaments to look forward to.

The Rams have an experienced squad this fall, as Caitlin Fluegge from Westview High School in Avondale, Ariz., is the team’s only freshmen.

“We expect good things from her. We will work her,” Messick said. “She should be a good top-line player.”

The rest of the team is made up of four sophomores, three juniors and one senior.

“We had a really young team last year,” said junior Lauren Strasburger, “Hopefully people got the jitters out from under them.”

This fall eyes will also be on the No. 1 doubles pair, Strasburger and senior Hilary Tyler. This summer the pair won the Denver City Open.

“Hopefully we will be playing together. I think we will do really well,” Tyler said.

Strasburger also won the singles bracket of the tournament and finished second in mixed doubles. The junior also placed well in tournaments at Boulder and Florida.

This will be Tyler’s fifth year in college, but only second playing for CSU. After two years at Iowa, she came to CSU and redshirted her first year.

“I talked to coach (Messick). He got me back into it, so I have this year and I figured I’d play and pick up a minor (degree),” Tyler said.

With no home tournaments, the Wyoming Invitational Sept. 14-16 in Laramie, Wyo., offers Ram fans the closest match.

The entire team will also head to the BYU Invitational Sept. 20-22, and the Air Force Invitational Oct. 12-14. And so far, Laura Neal, Strasburger and Tyler will be competing at the CU Invitational Sept. 28-30.

“All of our tournaments in the fall are pretty tough, but it’s fun we get to see teams we normally don’t get to see,” Tyler said.

The team is also waiting to see if anyone has been accepted to play in the All-American Championships at UCLA Sept. 29-Oct. 7.

Strasburger said Messick has sent in a request of the girls he hopes to play in the Championships but has yet to hear back. Hopes are high that at least a couple players will go this year and get a break from the Colorado rain.

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