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Tennis+ rank jumps 25 spots

April 4, 1997

Tennis' rank jumps 25 spots

Lady Bears' record propels them to #35 before Iowa State matchup

File photo

Barbara Navarro, an Alicante, Spain, freshman, slams the ball during a women's tennis practice earlier this semester.

By Kevin Allen

Lariat Sports Reporter

The Baylor women's tennis team moved up 25 spots in the national rankings this week to the No. 35 position, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

The Lady Bears have compiled a 10­3 record so far this season, and are 5­1 in conference play. Head coach Dave Luedtke felt the team deserved the ranking, and was proud of their efforts.

'It's a testament to how hard the team has played this season,' Luedtke said.

The 25-position jump was the largest move of any NCAA Division I team. The No. 35- ranking is also the highest a Lady Bear team has ever been ranked. Only two Big 12 teams, No. 5 Texas and No. 23 Texas A&M, are currently ranked higher than the Bears. While the team is excited about the recognition, they have not lost sight of their goals for the season.

'We still have higher expectations,' said Vanessa Abel, a Tucson, Ariz., freshman.

There are still six more matches left on the Lady Bears' schedule before the Big 12 Tournament in late April, including matches against No. 23 Texas A&M and No. 39 Texas Christian University.

The team has succeeded so far this season due to outstanding play by all the team members, according to Luedtke. Carolyn McGrath, a Cornwall, N.Y., senior, who plays in the No. 1 spot, has seven wins this season, and has moved into third place on Baylor's all-time career win list. Abel currently leads the team in wins this year with an 11­2 singles record in match play.

The doubles play of Barbara Navarro and Lauren Spears has also had a successful late season, turning in a 5­1 record since mid-March.

Luedtke also mentioned the weather as a factor in the team's success. Early in the season, bad weather kept the team off the courts, and caused for several matches to be rescheduled. Since then, being able to play all of their matches as scheduled has helped build momentum, said Luedtke.

'There is such a difference between playing competitive matches and just practicing,' said Spears, a Chillicothe sophomore.

The Lady Bears will play their last home match against Iowa State University at 1:30 p.m. today at the Streich Tennis Courts. Iowa State is 2­10 on the season, and have yet to win a conference match. However, Luedtke and the team have been careful not to overlook any opponents.

'We want to continue to play one match at a time... and stay focused,' said Luedtke.

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