The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

The Northerner

Freshman hope to ‘step up’ to challenge

Three freshmen will be counted on to improve the Northern Kentucky University women’s tennis team record of five wins and four losses in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, last season.

Becky Dister, Kari Goodrich and Renae Wright are expected to add to the success of the team. They should prove to be one of the most talented group of freshmen in recent years at NKU.

“It’s hard to tell how freshmen will react to the competition at this level,” said Head Coach Geoff Crawford. “I expect them to be a tremendous strength for the upcoming season.”

The Norse are hungry after losing out on the GLVC last season. It was the first time in the last four years that they hadn’t captured the title.

“Our goal is to be competitors, get to the NCAA tournament, and win the GLVC championship this year,” Crawford said.

Returning from last year’s squad is a group of talented players who are expected to improve upon their play last season.

Leading the way is senior Elizabeth Brunsman, who returns from last season after going undefeated in number one singles a year ago.

“Elizabeth is one of our biggest strengths,” Crawford said.

“She is going to have some tough challenges. Everyone is going to have to be able to step up.”

Also returning is senior Heather Gilmore and sophomore Lindsey England, who combined for a 3-1 record last year in doubles play, which Crawford believes will be a key to the team’s success this season.

“How successful you are in doubles play can really make or break your season,” Crawford said.

Sophomore Kristina Cunningham comes back after ranking second on the team in wins, with an 11-8 record last season.

Junior Jessica Smith also returns and is expected to make big contributions to the team this season.

“We have a good group of girls coming in, and a good group returning,” Crawford said. “With the hard work they are putting in, we will definitely be very competitive every time out.”

The Norse opened up their fall season last weekend with wins against St. Joseph’s and Findlay University.

The team opens its home season this weekend with matches against GLVC rivals Southern Indiana and Kentucky Wesleyan on Friday and Saturday.

The GLVC title is decided in the fall, and the winner gets an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

The team also plays a spring schedule, which concludes with the NCAA tournament in May.

“I know that our girls are going to be working hard and showing a lot of effort,” said Crawford.

“Their hard work will bring us nothing but success allowing us to be competitors for the GLVC title.”

-Tim Downer, photo editor, contributed to this article.