Women netters open year at Indiana

By Fred Konrath

The NIU women’s tennis team will get its first test of the new season when it heads to Indiana University on Friday to participate in the Hoosiers’ Fall Invitational at Bloomington, Ind.

NIU head coach Patty Groth-Newbrough is anxious to start the season and compete with top teams like host Indiana and the University of Michigan.

“It’s nice to practice, but we are anxious to get the season underway,” she said. “Our practices are going great. We’ve been practicing hard for three hours every morning.”

The reason the Huskies are training in top shape is to open their season on a high note. Indiana has dominated the Big Ten in women’s tennis for the last 15 years. “Indiana is a very respectful team, and Michigan is right up their, too,” said Groth-Newbrough.

The Invitational will field 9 teams and NIU is considered one of the top teams. Groth-Newbrough likes her chances and feels her top three single players can compete with the best of them.

Leading the way as the No. 1 singles player is junior Jenny Kargas, who will replace the past two years’ top single player, senior Sarah Murfey. Murfey will fill out the No. 2 spot and brings back an impressive mark (21-10) as last year’s North Star Conference singles runner-up. The No. 3 spot will be played by junior Svetlana Nedeljkovic.

“These top three will be very hard to beat,” boasted Groth-Newbrough. “They have a great deal of talent and hustle.”

Rounding out the NIU lineup (Nos. 4-7) are Ivana Nickolic, Jami Cheek (1992 NSC No. 3 singles champion), Brenda Bowen and Tami Morgan.

Coming off three consecutive winning seasons, Groth-Newbrough is determined this year’s team will be just as good, if not better.

“We’re missing a couple of players, but we still have enough depth to cover,” she said. “We’re just trying to stay away from injuries and look forward to a winning season. This weekend will give us a chance to see a lot of playing time and will also give us a good indication of where we stand.”