March 16, 2009

Butler Battles Four Regional Foes This Week

March 16, 2009

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Setting The Scene: The Butler men's tennis team opens up play this week at home when it takes on Indiana State on Wednesday (March 18) beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the Butler Bubble. The Bulldogs then travel to Bloomington, Ill., on Friday (March 20) for a 3:00 p.m. contest with Illinois State. The women's team, meanwhile, welcomes Evansville to town on Saturday (March 21) for a 3:00 p.m. match before kicking off its Horizon League schedule the following afternoon (March 22) against Valparaiso beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Bulldogs Cruise Past CWRU: Butler dropped just two games in doubles play en route to a sweep of the opening point before cruising to six straight-set wins in the singles competition, as the Bulldogs topped Case Western Reserve, 7-0, on Wednesday (March 11) afternoon. Natali Jaimes and Gabriella Bobrowski teamed up at the top doubles spot to score an 8-0 sweep, while the No. 2 tandem of Cam Thompson and Ashley Breitenbach and the No. 3 team of Kahfii King and Valerie Vinluan scored 8-1 triumphs. The dominance over the Spartans continued in singles play, as Bobrowski, Molly Casperson and Becky Jenkins each rolled to 6-0, 6-0 wins at No. 2, 3 and 4 singles, respectively. Jaimes added a 7-5, 6-2 victory at the top spot, Heather Hayward picked up a 6-3, 6-1 win at No. 5 and Kate Panawash scored a 6-2, 6-4 decision at No. 6.

All In The Family: A trio of current women's players have ties to other current or recent Butler student-athletes. Junior Molly Casperson played her freshman season with her older sister, Chelsey, who was a four-year letterwinner at Butler. Additionally, freshman Ashley Breitenbach is the younger sister of former men's tennis player Eric Breitenbach, who finished his four-year career with the Bulldogs last spring as a two-time First Team All-Horizon League honoree, while fellow freshman Heather Hayward is the twin sister of current freshman men's basketball player Gordon Hayward.

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 174-114 overall record at Butler, including an astounding 70-3 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 118-108 record, including a dominant 66-21 mark in league play, and have advanced to the tournament championship match in eight of his nine seasons.

Next Up: The Horizon League season heats up for both the men's and women's teams, as three of the Bulldogs' four opponents next week will be conference foes. After opening the week against Xavier on Wednesday, March 25, the women's team will head to league rival Detroit on Friday, March 27, before hosting Green Bay on Sunday, March 29. The men's squad, meanwhile, will take on Detroit in its only competition of the week on March 27.