Jan. 30, 2009
By Mackenzie Altman
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - - Inside the office of Head Coach Jon Messick hangs a green and gold poster filled with the Colorado State women's tennis team goals for the upcoming 2009 spring season.
In bold capital letters "A NATIONAL RANKING" is at the top of the list along with "Beat One Ranked Team."
The Rams, coming off a strong preseason showing, will return to the court with a strong determination, drive and will to succeed.
"The fall season allowed us to look at the players individually to see their varying levels of competition as well as experiment with positions and partners," said Messick. "Now we come into the spring season with a stronger lineup that maximizes our ability as a team. We are gearing our lineup to allow us to win four out of seven points during match play."
The Rams' fall season consisted primarily of tournament play, competing at the Wyoming, BYU and Air Force invitationals as well as the ITA Central Region Championships. The team got off to a tremendous start by winning four finals at the Wyoming Invitational, sweeping the top two flights. With two top players missing from the roster, Lauren Strasburger and Caitlin Fluegge, the Rams' freshmen, Tori Arneson and Lauren Mulhern, stepped up to prove they could handle the tough pressure of Division I tennis at the Air Force Invitational.
At the ITA Central Region Championships, junior Laura Neal and Arneson had the opportunity to represent the Rams. After the first day of competition the two finished the day with a combined 4-0 record in singles and doubles competition. The results amazed Messick, who could not remember the last time that his team won all its matches the first day of competition. The duo finished the tournament with a 2-1 doubles record.
The Rams will face seven nationally ranked teams during the spring season, including No. 25 TCU, No. 28 Denver, who has been a long time rival of the Colorado State tennis team, No. 39 Boise State, No. 47 BYU, No. 49 New Mexico and No. 50 Utah. Five of the seven teams are in the Rams' conference.
"This season is more of a challenge for us than an obstacle," Messick said. "We can't get into a national ranking until we play nationally ranked teams."
The Colorado State women's tennis team will have the chance to achieve its goal of beating a nationally ranked team in its season opener. The Rams hit the court on Feb. 6 in Boise, Idaho, where they will face off against No. 39 Boise State.