A Tale of Two Seasons

Women’s Tennis Hopes Spring Brings Improvement

Mary Kate Hailer

The IU Southeast Woman’s Tennis team lost its spring opener (0-9), on March 29. at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. They followed that loss with a (9-0) win against Kentucky Wesleyan on April 4.

Tennis season is broken up in to two sessions. One that starts in August and ends in October and picks up again in the spring.

Brian Sullivan is in his second season as head coach of the Grenadiers. He currently has six active players on the roster for the spring season, including one new addition, freshman, Abigail Hurtgen.

Coach Sullivan said there are two players that are not playing this semester and it was important to find someone to step up and give the team a full roster.

“It looks like Abby is going to be a good edition to the roster here this spring,” Sullivan said.

Hurtgen said how excited she is to be a part of the tennis team at IU Southeast.

“As a freshman, I’m looking forward to building bonds with my teammates and to make the best of the season,” Hurtgen said.

Hurtgen said she hopes to win some matches and prepare for next season.

“I want to help my teammates win conference next year and go to nationals,” Hurtgen said.

Sullivan also mentioned another young member of the team. Whitney Batliner is the only sophomore on team and was conference MVP last year.

“Just as a sophomore she played number one signals and doubles,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan talked about this spring season and what they hope to accomplish.

“The mind set for this spring is we are still playing tough, very tough competition,” he said.

The team won the KIAC regular season championship last fall, but got beat in the KIAC tournament championship. That meant that the team did not qualify for an automatic bid to nationals.

Sullivan said he hopes the team can play well enough this spring to possibly receive an at-large bid.

He said this was probably a long shot at best, because this team is missing two of their all-conference players from the fall season.

“It would be a real long shot to get an at-large bid. There are only about five or six bids given out each season,” Sullivan said. “(It’s) not a realistic possibility of going to nationals without those players.

So the shift will focus more towards improvement of the team and what each player needs to work on to get better between now and the next conference season, according to Sullivan.

“Playing good competition and basically just using this as a head start for entering the fall season,” Sullivan said.

The team’s goal for this season is to make it to the conference tournament again and pull out a win.

“We want to win the conference championship again and we want to make sure of it because we have done it many years in a row here,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan emphasized the high level of competition his team will face this spring.

“We are probably playing the most difficult spring schedule in school history,” he said.

Sullivan said that this schedule was intentional. He wants to play against good competition which he says will help his team get better and get out of their comfort zone.

In the past, the Grenadiers matched up against Bellarmine University and University of Southern Indiana. Sullivan said that although they lost both matches they were still close.

Sullivan said the past four years the teams knew that they were going to the national tournament, and now that nationals is all but off the table, Sullivan wonders what kind of motivational factors are there.

Sullivan added that improving for next fall is a lot less immediate so they have to be out there ready to get better without anything in front of them.

“If they can stay motivated that’s going to tell me a lot about the personality of the team collectively,” Sullivan said.

The Grenadiers have won one match and lost one, so far this spring. Their overall record for the season is 9-5, but without the possibility of going to nationals, they will be looking forward to the fall, when the next season begins.