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Bear Briefs

Jan. 17, 2001

Men's tennis set to defend last season's success

The Baylor men's tennis team will try to defend its Big 12 Conference title from last spring when the season starts Jan. 23 against Southern Methodist University. Head Coach Matt Knoll is starting his sixth season with the Bears tennis team and knows it will be tough to live up to the expectations because of last year's success.

'We have a lot of new faces this year,' Knoll said. 'We lost some of our established guys, and are facing some key injuries right now. But you can't put a price tag on the valuable experience of being in a winning atmosphere. This is what makes good teams stay good.'

Baylor starts this season ranked No. 15 in the nation, and will depend heavily on All-American Mark Williams to lead an inexperienced squad.

'This is a step-up festival,' Knoll said. 'A lot of people are going to be asked to play higher in the line-up. Someone has to separate themselves from the group, but it is too early to tell who that will be.'

The Bears will need to step up because they are hosting the conference tournament in the new facility that will be available April 15.

Women's tennis team prepares for season start

The Baylor women's tennis team has high expectations going into the spring semester carrying a No. 18 national ranking.

The team returns six starters from last season when the Lady Bears finished second in the Big 12. They also have three players ranked in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association top 50. Jahnavi Parekh is ranked the highest at No. 18 while Katja Kovac is ranked No. 35 and Vida Mulec starts the season ranked at No. 41.

The team will play in the ITA National Team Indoor Tournament for the first time in school history February 15-18 in Madison, Wis. The team will get an early test as to how they stack up against the rest of the nation.

Head Coach Dave Luedtke said, 'Our selection to be a part of the tournament shows that we are beginning to receive that sort of recognition. We want to make a statement in this tournament that we belong among the elite teams.'

First year player Alison Bradley said the team expects big things this season.

'We want to win the whole enchilada this season,' she said. 'We fully expect to win the Big 12 and be in the top 10 all year long.'

The Lady Bears open the season Jan. 27 at home against the University of Louisiana-Monroe.