April 20, 2011
Contact: Greg Murphy
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland State women's tennis team heads to the Horizon League Championship as the No. 2 seed for the second straight season. The championship will be played at North Central H.S. in Indianapolis, Ind., from Thursday through Saturday (April 21-23).
The Vikings earned the No. 2 seed and automatic bye into the semifinals by tying the program record with a second place finish in the league at 7-1. By clinching the No. 2 seed, the Vikings received a bye into the semifinals and will open play in the championship on Friday (April 22) at 2:30 p.m. against the winner of Thursday's first round match between No. 3 Butler and No. 6 Milwaukee.
Top-seeded UIC will play either No. 4 Wright State or No. 5 Detroit in the other semifinal with the championship match at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday (April 22).
"We have put ourselves in great position for the league championship by earning the No. 2 seed for the second straight season," head coach Brian Etzkin said. "Now it's just a matter of going out there, staying focused and executing each match. We know nothing will come easy and will have to continue to play with a high level of intensity."
CSU closed out the regular season with a pair of wins over the weekend, winning 6-1 at Youngstown State on Friday (April 15) and sweeping Detroit, 7-0, on Saturday (April 16) for their fourth sweep in league action this year.
Junior Catrine Bjerrehus has held down the No. 1 position in the singles lineup for the third straight year, posting an 8-19 mark, including 4-3 in league matches.
Freshman Alex Bush leads the team with 22 victories, while freshman Kara Sherwood is 17-17 this season as the duo has split time between Nos. 2-3 singles. Sophomore Maria Lazaris is 16-7 at No. 4 singles, while freshman Alex Power has gone 15-17 and sophomore Mengdi Liu 17-5 at five and six singles, respectively.
Lazaris is one of six players in the Horizon League to go undefeated in league singles play, posting an 8-0 mark, while Sherwood and Power were both 7-1 in league matches.
"I really like how this lineup grew and matured as the season went on," Etzkin said. "We played three freshmen, two sophomores and a junior for a majority of the year and everyone played a key role for us at some point of the season. We had a very difficult early season schedule and I think that really helped as the season progressed."
The freshmen tandem of Bush and Power have played at the top of the doubles lineup for the Vikings, going 13-6 this season, while Bjerrehus and Lazaris have gone 7-3 at No. 2 doubles and Liu and Sherwood 7-3 at No. 3 doubles.
"Our doubles has really improved from the fall to the spring," Etzkin said. "We put a strong emphasis on coming out strong and winning that point in order to give us some confidence and momentum heading into singles."
The winner of the Horizon League Championship will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The first and second rounds are slated for May 13-14 at campus sites.
The selection show is at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday (May 3) live on NCAA.com.