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Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2001

KU will miss male counterparts

Women’s team considered men’s players ‘best support’

August 11, 2001

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Kilmeny Waterman has gone over it a hundred times and can only find one positive.

Kansas University's decision to drop men's tennis will mean more court availability for Waterman's KU women's team. In other words, she'll miss the men's team.

"They were our best support," she said. "Having more tennis players around is beneficial. It's a difficult situation."

Senior Cheryl Mallaiah agrees.

"They were always there for our matches." Mallaiah, a senior, said. "It's going to be different to not have them there."

Last year Kansas had only one senior, Monica Sekulov, and three freshmen on the eight-woman roster.

"With the three freshmen last year we were pretty young," said Emily Haylock, a sophomore from Australia. "We're a year older now so that should help us with experience."

With the bulk of the team returning Sekulov graduated and Lisa Mallaiah, Cheryl's sister, will not be back and a top recruit from Texas, Paige Brown, Waterman is excited about the upcoming season.

"We have six returners and most of our team is back," she said. "We were young last year and that will help us this year."

Mallaiah, who will contend for the No. 1 spot, said she thinks the Jayhawks did well for being such a young team last season.

"Being a young team is a little hard," she said. "I think we did well, we played strong against some good teams, like Texas."

Kansas lost 4-3 to the then-fifth ranked Longhorns on Feb. 17. In singles play, Courtney Steinbock, KU's No. 3 player, won her match and so did No. 6 Christie Wagenaar.

Mallaiah and Sekulov teamed to win their doubles match and so did Haylock and Kim Lorenz.

Steinbock won Big 12 Player of the Week honors in mid-April after she won two singles matches against Nebraska and Southern Methodist and a doubles match while paired with twin sister Kristen against SMU.

The Jayhawks finished the regular season with a 12-12 record before losing to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament.

Three Jayhawks were named to the Academic All-Big 12 squad. Wagenaar and Lorenz made the first team and Sekulov was named to the second team.

Waterman, who will begin her second year as coach this fall, was happy with the Jayhawks' performance in 2001.

"For me coming in the first year, I think it was a success," she said. "You want to set attainable goals your first year and I think we made some good strides."

To make bigger strides this year, Haylock said the team must focus more.

"Last year we lost quite a few three-set matches," Haylock said. "That's something that needs to get better. That and our attitude. We need to go in thinking we can win."

A can-do attitude is something that might help the Jayhawks win, but so is freshman Brown, an Amarillo, Texas, product who has the ability to make an immediate impact, according to Waterman.

"Paige should really help us out," she said. "She's an all-around player and I'm excited she's coming to KU."

So are Brown's Kansas teammates.

"We've got a new girl coming in who is pretty good and should help us out," Haylock said. "I'm not sure how it will affect our lineup, though."

Brown, who signed a letter of intent last November, is one of the top-10 under-18 singles players in the Lone Star State.

"Paige is willing to work hard and has a lot of potential in her game," Waterman said. "I love to develop players and she is ready to come in and work hard and have her game grow. She's a very focused and determined individual."

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