The Purdue women’s tennis team has set program best after program best during recent seasons, but its members say they aren’t quite satisfied.
“Last year, coming off the (Big Ten Tournament championship) we didn’t exceed our expectations – we met them,” Lynda Xepoleas said. “We want to start exceeding our goals each year rather than just meeting them.”
A season ago, Purdue earned the highest ranking in program history – checking in at No. 14 early in the season – and won a match in the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
The Boilers return six of seven from a team that went 18-6 overall and 8-3 in the Big Ten last season, which head coach Laura Glitz said has led to noticeable improvements in early-season performance and team chemistry.
“Just from what I’ve seen in individual workouts, I can see the team is at another level, talent-wise and chemistry-wise,” Glitz said. “This summer with half of our team here and three new freshmen, I emphasized (team chemistry).”
Glitz noted that Purdue will play its toughest non-conference schedule this season, competing against more ranked teams than in years past. The squad will face Tulsa, TCU, and Arizona State, to prepare the team for Big Ten play and the NCAA Tournament.
Despite returning the majority of the team, only three are upperclassmen who were a part of the Big Ten Tournament championship-winning team in 2012 – senior Mara Schmidt and juniors Dani Vidal and Xepoleas.
Schmidt, who qualified for the NCAA Doubles Championships last year with now-sophomore Krisztina Kapitany, said she’s eager to lead, especially toward a goal that the team hasn’t accomplished.
“As a senior, I’d like to have more of an impact from a leadership position,” Schmidt said. “I would like to see us with the Big Ten Championship.”
Purdue opens the season at the Michigan Fall Invite starting Sept. 20 in Ann Arbor, Mich.