April 7, 2009
Setting The Scene: A busy week lies ahead for the Butler tennis teams, as both the women's and men's squads will play a total of three Horizon League matches each. The women open up the week at home against Wright State on Tuesday (April 7) at 3:00 p.m. before the men host the Raiders on Thursday (April 9) at 3:00 p.m. Both teams then travel to Youngstown State on Saturday (April 11), with the men playing at 2:00 p.m. and the women at 5:00 p.m., before the Bulldogs head to Cleveland State on Sunday (April 12) for a 10:00 a.m. women's match and a 2:00 p.m. men's contest.
A Rare Set-Back: The Butler men's tennis team's 5-2 loss to UIC last week was just the second conference regular season loss for the program since 1996. Butler had won 49 consecutive league bouts before falling to the Flames on April 18 of last year. Prior to that, the Bulldogs' last defeat at the hands of a league foe came via a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Northern Illinois at the end of the 1996 season.
Weekly Dominance: The Horizon League is quite aware of the strong play by the Bulldogs this season. Butler has collected a total of six Horizon League Player of the Week awards, including five by the women's team. Sophomore Natali Jaimes picked up a pair of recognitions during the fall, while sophomore Gabriella Bobrowski, junior Becky Jenkins and freshman Cam Thompson have each earned one this spring. Junior Ben Raynauld scored the lone award for the men's team this season.
Cooling The Flames: Sophomore men's player Brandon Bayliss finished undefeated against visiting UIC last weekend. The Sheboygan, Wis., native teamed up with sophomore Lenz Theodor for an 8-4 win at No. 3 doubles before rallying for a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 victory at No. 3 singles.
Youth Movement: Both the Butler men's and women's teams head into the spring campaign without a single senior member on their rosters. The men's squad features two juniors, five sophomores (including a first-year Butler player) and two freshmen, while the women's team boasts three juniors, two sophomores and five rookies. The one thing neither team is short on is talent, however. Among the 11 returning players are four All-Horizon League Team members from a season ago, including men's players Brandon Bayliss and Ben Raynauld and women's players Molly Casperson and Natali Jaimes.
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 176-116 overall record at Butler, including an astounding 71-4 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 121-111 record - including a dominant 69-22 mark in league play - and have advanced to the tournament championship match in eight of his nine years.
Next Up: The regular slate concludes next week, as the men head to Valparaiso on April 15, while the women host Milwaukee on April 17.