2002 Women's Tennis Season Summary

The BYU women's tennis team had a lot at stake in the 2001-2002 season, most important of which was defending the Mountain West Conference title. The Cougars had not lost a conference match in 2001, and so the 2002 team had expectations right from the start. But despite a valiant effort by the team, a tough schedule and some major injuries were too much to overcome for this year's Cougars and they

failed to repeat as champions and did not advance at the NCAA Championships for the second straight year.

The Cougars' first dual match of the season also opened up MWC play, with BYU dominating Air Force. The Cougars then went on a brutal road trip, where they played seven teams and won only one match. All seven teams ended the season ranked in the top 50, and BYU returned to Provo for a seven-match homestand. Six of those seven teams finished the season ranked, but the home court advantage helped out as BYU went 4-3 during the matches.

After a two-month layoff from MWC action, the Cougars hit the road to finish off the conference season. BYU lost its next three matches in conference play, all against ranked teams, but was able to come back to win its final three matches and end the regular season on a high note. BYU faced an uphill battle to defend its 2001 MWC Tournament title. The Cougars easily handled Utah in round one, but San Diego State knocked off BYU in the semis.

Things didn't get any easier for the Cougars when they found out they would play at No. 13 California in the first round of the NCAA Championships. BYU's up-and-down season ended on a down note, losing to the Golden Bears 4-0. The Cougars could not handle the Golden Bears' depth and settled for a No. 47 season-ending ranking. On the season, 18 of BYU's 24 opponents were ranked in the top 75 at season's end, including 13 ranked in the top 30.

The majority of the team will return next season, as Brooke Beverley will be the lone graduating senior as the Cougars will have an experienced team for the 2002-03 campaign. Beverley played two seasons at Illinois before transferring to BYU, where she excelled in doubles play in her junior and senior years. She was ranked in doubles her junior year with Jodi Richardson and again with Dominique Reynolds her senior year, finishing the season as the No. 51 doubles team in the country.

BYU will be a veteran team next season, with three seniors and two juniors. Highlighting the Cougars' lineup will be the leadership of captain Lu Oswald and the consistency of Reynolds. Reynolds finished the season with a 13-match winning streak in singles play, with her last loss coming in three sets in the middle of February. Elizaveta Khoudoiarova, a native of Moscow, Russia, will be the other senior. Lindsay Ferrell and Elyse Carlson will give the team more depth as juniors.

Two new Australian players helped BYU in 2002, with both Rebecca Pike and Nicole Schneider joining the team during the year. Schneider played her first match against Air Force only a few days after arriving from Australia. Pike played at the No. 1 spot in her first match with the Cougars, immediately adding to BYU's depth. The two Aussies will be around for three more years to help out the Cougars.