Tennis Opens Spring Season This Weekend

Jan. 14, 2009

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Setting The Scene: The Butler tennis teams kick off the spring season this weekend, as the women's squad opens up at home against Indiana State on Saturday (Jan. 17) beginning at 4:00 p.m., while the men's team begins the year the following afternoon (Jan. 18) at Northwestern beginning at 3:00 p.m.

A Look Back At The Fall: Sophomore Natali Jaimes led the women's team in singles play during the fall, posting a 5-1 record between the Ball State Invitational and the ITA Midwest Regional. The doubles tandem of juniors Molly Casperson and Becky Jenkins led the way with a 4-2 mark. On the men's side, sophomore Bryce Warren posted a team-high six singles wins as well as a team-best seven doubles victories. Freshman Lenz Theodor added five decisions in singles competition, while sophomore Chris Herron chipped in six doubles results.

League Honors: Butler women's tennis players Molly Casperson and Natali Jaimes were both mentioned among the top performers in the Horizon League last spring, as the duo was included on the 2008 All-Horizon League Women's Tennis First Team. A trio of Butler men's tennis players found themselves mentioned among the Horizon League's best last season, as Brandon Bayliss took home the league's Newcomer of the Year award, while Eric Breitenbach and Ben Raynauld earned all-league first team mention.

Head Coach Jason Suscha: Jason Suscha, in his 12th season as the head coach of the Butler men's tennis team and 10th year at the helm of the women's squad, continues to reign supreme in the world of Horizon League tennis. The five-time Horizon League Men's Tennis Coach of the Year boasts a 169-105 overall record at Butler, including an astounding 69-3 mark against conference foes. Suscha has also consistently positioned the Butler women's squad near the top of the Horizon League. Under his guidance, the Bulldogs have combined for a 113-101 record, including a dominant 66-21 mark in league play, and have advanced to the tournament championship match in eight of his nine seasons.

All Good Things Must Come To An End: The Butler men's squad had its incredible Horizon League regular season dual-meet winning streak come to an end last season at UIC with a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Flames. Including five straight dual meet victories prior to that match in 2008, the Bulldogs had won 49-straight regular season bouts during a span of 12 years, dating back to a 6-1 defeat to Northern Illinois at the end of the 1996 season.

Double-Trouble: The doubles competition might only factor in for one of the seven points in a dual meet, but, for Butler, it was the difference between winning and losing the match last year. The men's team finished with a 12-0 record and women's team with an 11-0 mark in dual meets in 2008 when they secured the doubles point.

The Regulars: The Bulldogs were quite accustomed to seeing at least one of their own mentioned as the Horizon League's Player of the Week during the 2008 season, as a Butler tennis player was recognized with the league's weekly honor nine times. Six different Bulldogs earned the league's mentions, including three by Ben Raynauld (Feb. 27, March 25 and April 8) and two by Molly Casperson (April 1 and April 8). Departed senior Eric Breitenbach (Feb. 13), Natali Jaimes (Feb. 20), Brandon Bayliss (March 4) and Chris Herron (April 1) were also honored.

Next Up: The Butler men's team continues its season-opening road swing with three matches next week, as the Bulldogs take on Ohio State (Jan. 21), Wisconsin (Jan. 24) and Horizon League foe Green Bay (Jan. 25). The women's team, meanwhile, remains idle until Jan. 31 when it hosts Dayton.