The 2004 Gustavus Adolphus Women’s Tennis team returns the core of last years’ squad and is looking forward to another solid season. The Gusties are looking to extend their consecutive conference title streak to 13 and are currently ranked ninth nationally. Top returners include juniors Marla Menne, Mikaela Schmitt, and Kara Smiley and sophomores Lyndsey Palen and Tara Houlihan. In addition, the team will be bolstered by a strong crew of newcomers including Lauren Hom, Jamie Gaard, Darcy Hawbrick and Hannah Frericks.
Gustavus has many talented players and quality depth, but this makes creating a line-up a difficult task. Coach Carlson is currently unsure how things will work out, but it is a welcome problem to have. Menne, Schmitt, Smiley, Palen, Houlihan, and the the newcomers will all compete for positions 1-6 in singles. No matter how things shake out, the veteran leadership this group will provide shall prove vital to the team’s success.
The doubles line-up is equally unclear. Hom and Smiley played together at the recent ITA Midwest Regional and reached the finals before losing. Schmitt and Gaard also joined forces earlier this year with some success. Palen and Smiley posted a record or 19-8 last year and earned an invitation to the NCAA Doubles Tournament. Houlihan and Menne also combined to post an impressive 17-2 mark last year.
Gustavus will play its usual difficult schedule, beginning the season against Division II power Brigham Young-Hawaii and Division I University of Hawaii and Iowa State. The Gusties will also play many of the top teams in Division III in their swing through southern California in early April.