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DU opens its season today against Utah State.
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DU opens its season today against Utah State.
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Young and Talented Women’s Tennis Team Ready for Spring Action
Courtesy: Denver Athletics  
Release: 01/21/2012

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The University of Denver women's tennis team took some lumps last season. Youth and inexperience played big roles in the Pioneers 9-14 record in 2010-11.

But, with the spring season around the corner things are about to change, as youth and experience figure to play big parts in the success the Crimson and Gold want to have in 2012.

"Last year was a learning process for us," third-year head coach Jeremy Wurtzman said. "But we came back with more experience, played well in the fall and now we are ready to show what we have learned."

Junior transfer Madeleine Saari-Byström (Uppsala, Sweden) joins the team after spending two seasons at the University of South Carolina. The junior transfer put together an impressive 11-1 singles record during the fall and is ranked No. 95 overall and No. 4 in the Mountain Region in the latest Campbell's/ITA Women's College Tennis Singles Rankings.

Junior Sophia Bergner (Schechen, Germany) returns as one of DU's most experienced players. Bergner came on strong during the second half of last year's spring season then went on to compile a 4-2 record during the Pioneers' fall campaign. She claimed two wins in singles play at the 2011 USTA/ITA Division I Mountain Regional Championships and hopes to avenge her loss in the round of 16 with some impressive play this spring. Bergner begins spring play as the No. 8 singles player in the Mountain Region.

Sophomore Elena Najera (San Diego, Calif.) begins the spring season ranked No. 15 in Mountain Region singles and hopes to build on her 7-3 fall singles record. The sophomore was 19-15 in singles and 12-18 in doubles last year, earning her DU's Most Valuable Freshman honor.

Sophomore Caroline Schnell (Greenwood Village, Colo.) enters the spring ranked No. 16 in the region. Schnell went 7-4 in singles play this fall and will give Wurtzman more options for doubles combinations during the spring dual season as well.

Juniors Emma Isberg (Tyreso, Sweden) and Steffi Rath (Hochst, Austria) and sophomore Gabriella Boboc (Boras, Sweden) bring even more talent and experience to the Pioneer lineup.

Rounding out the Pioneer squad are sophomore Natalie Dunn (Fort Collins, Colo.) and freshman Michelle Garpenlov (Tyreso, Sweden). Dunn returns for spring action after an injury prevented her from playing in the fall. Garpenlov adds depth after recently joining the team.

"We have the makings of a team that can compete for an SBC title," adds Wurtzman. "Everyone is beginning to really mesh and we are becoming a team, but consistency and maturity are keys to our success this spring."

Denver begins its spring campaign with a trip to Boise, Idaho to take on Utah State on Jan. 21 followed by a match against Boise State on Jan. 22. The Pioneers' home schedule is highlighted with matches against Colorado State (Jan. 28), No. 47 Texas Tech (Feb. 17) and No. 48 Sacramento State (April 14). Contests against No. 42 South Florida (March 21), No. 50 Princeton (March 30) and Colorado (Feb. 26) highlight the road schedule.

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