Lady Blues tennis team waiting to get into full swing of season

Blake Stuart

February has come and that means it’s once again time for the Washburn Lady Blues tennis team to hit the courts. Head Coach Jennifer Hastert returns six players this season and also welcomes one newcomer in freshman Amber Raindl. Players back for the Lady Blues include Julie Huyberechts, who was voted to the MIAA tennis first team last year. Also back in action will be Audrie Miller, Lauren Harris, Alex Rodenbeek, Jennifer Keiner and Allie Gardner.

The last time the team took the court was in September at the Wichita State Invitational. Miller, Gardner and Harris all proved victorious, winning the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 singles flights.

Despite that early success, the team has bigger things in mind this season. Last year the Lady Blues came so close to making the NCAA Nationals, falling at home to the Mavericks of Nebraska-Omaha in the finals of the NCAA North Central Regional. This year the NCAA Nationals will be played just down the road in Kansas City and with a preseason ranking of No. 30, the Lady Blues see good things in their future.

The spring season was officially supposed to kick off for the team on the weekend of Feb. 25, with a match-up against Minnesota-Duluth right here in Topeka. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the matches were canceled. Anyone wanting to see the team in action shouldn’t be too disappointed though, because the Lady Blues will stay in Topeka for matches March 2-4 against Metro State, Winona State and Colorado State-Pueblo.

The Lady Blues will compete in over a dozen tournaments between Feb. 18 and April 19, traveling as far north as North Dakota and as far east as South Carolina. Then April 22-23 comes the always important MIAA Tournament in St. Joseph, Mo., which will be followed two weeks later by the NCAA Regionals.

If the young Lady Blues tennis team can live up to expectations, then it should be a successful season, and hopefully one that winds up down I-70 at Kansas City for the NCAA Nationals.