DECEMBER, 1999 -- Dominating might be an understatement when summarizing the success of the FSU women's tennis program over the last decade. The Bulldogs continued their domination in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference by capturing their 16th consecutive conference title in the fall of 1999. Ferris dominated in the regular season, winning 9-0 in 10 of its 12 matches while extending its current league dual-match winning streak to an incredible 138 straight. The win string dates back to Sept. 4, 1984. FSU had three players achieve first-team all-conference honors in Sharrie Kindig, Jennifer Garvey and Anne Bentley while Bentley was also selected as the GLIAC's Player of the Year.
The goal for the Ferris State women's tennis team in the 1999-2000 season is no different than the one which the Bulldogs achieved last year earning a trip to the NCAA Division II Championships.
Entering this season, Ferris State plans to continue its dominance of conference competition and also its tradition as one of the nation's most successful programs. In 1998-99, the Bulldogs claimed their 15th consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship after wrapping up the fall portion of their league schedule at 12-0 and capturing top honors at the conference tournament. In the process, FSU extended its current regular-season GLIAC dual match winning streak to an incredible 126 matches dating back to Sept. 14, 1984.
Last spring, Ferris won the NCAA-II Midwest Region title and automatically qualified for the NCAA National Championships as the Bulldogs made their first appearance at nationals since 1985-86. Although FSU's efforts were halted by third-ranked Lynn University (Fla.) in the national tourney's opening round, the Bulldogs were able to finish the season at 30-5 overall while being ranked 14th in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association's national poll and fourth in the Midwest Region.
Head coach Ed Luck, who enters his eighth season at Ferris, is eagerly looking forward to continuing the Bulldogs' string of successes on the court.
"Our goals are to defend our conference title, get back to the NCAA nationals and possibly advance beyond the opening round," said Luck, who has been selected the GLIAC Women's Tennis Coach-of-the-Year three of the last four seasons. "This team has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. They seem quite determined to carry on the great tradition of our program."
The Bulldogs will miss the talents and leadership provided by the graduated Sarah Spann, who won 22 singles matches a season ago primarily at the number three position. Despite the loss of the 1998 All-GLIAC First-Team performer, Ferris welcomes back the remainder of its lineup.
Sophomore Jennifer Garvey will lead the team into action this season, fresh off a 26-8 record in singles action. On a talent-laden team, Garvey was FSU's number one singles players and attained All-GLIAC First-Team accolades. She concluded last season ranked 43rd nationally in singles play by the ITA and was listed eighth in the ITA's Midwest Regional individual rankings.
Ferris State will get strong senior leadership from a pair of 1998-99 all-conference honorees in Sharrie Kindig and Anne Bentley. Kindig repeated as a GLIAC champion as she achieved first-team laurels after totaling a team-leading 26-4 overall singles record. She also performed well in doubles competition by registering a 31-6 record. Bentley, who posted a 17-1 record last fall before joining the softball team in the spring, was selected all-conference second team. The roster also includes senior Emily Caldwell, who joined the program last spring and went 7-8 at number two singles. She was ranked eighth in the final 1999 Midwest Region singles rankings and placed 11th with Garvey in doubles competition. Another contributor in the Ferris lineup, Ellen Frost, returns for her junior season following a 20-3 singles record last year. She also went undefeated in NCAA-II Midwest Region match action.
The remainder of the returning letterwinners include junior Amy Tylutki, senior Erin Crandall and sophomore Tessa Miller. Tylutki, in particular, was an integral part of last year's success as she tallied a 21-3 singles mark and was 26-4 in doubles.
The Bulldogs will welcome a talented player in freshman Suzanne Batten, who could crack the team's singles lineup at one of the lower flights and is a solid doubles player.
There's no question that the 1999-2000 Ferris squad has the talent and determination to once again succeed nationally. The good news for FSU faithful is that another exciting year of Bulldog success could be in store this season.