Habitual winners

After a record-breaking year for the BG women’s tennis team, the last few weeks of school have been bittersweet as the team says goodbye to three seniors. Stefanie Menoff and co-captains Libby Harrison and Kelsey Jakupcin played their last season with the Falcons and are tied for the winningest class in BG history. Since they arrived on campus in the fall of 2005, the trio of Falcons have won 55 matches, placing them in a tie with last year’s seniors, Jenna Nussbaum and Andrea Volle. Though the Falcons will be losing three great players, coach Penny Dean says she has three talented replacements coming in. ‘It will be very difficult to replace the three of them for sure,’ Dean said.’ ‘But we have three very good players coming in next fall. They will need to gain experience, but enthusiasm will be high.’ Menoff became the winningest singles player in BG history this season with over 80 wins, was named Mid-American Conference Player of the Week this April and was named to the All-MAC Academic team last year. Menoff says that her last match as a Falcon helped her to look back on her tennis career. ‘The last match really made me appreciate all of the other matches I have been through during my four year span at BGSU,’ Menoff said. ‘I think that as seniors we have a lot to be proud of.’ Jakupcin has been named to the All-MAC First team as well as the Academic All-MAC team in her time as well. She was also named MAC Player of the Week in February, 2008. The Falcons’ last matches occurred during the MAC Championships this past week where BG lost in the first round. Jakupcin was somewhat disappointed to have ended her season in that manner. ‘For us seniors it was hard, but we tried not to think about it being our last match and we took it well when the match was over,’ Jakupcin said. Harrison is also disappointed the Falcons lost their last matches as seniors. ‘We all went into [the final match] really optimistic that we were going to win,’ Harrison said.’ ‘We didn’t think of it as our last match. We were just pumped for [the tournament] to be in BG.’ Dean reiterated the senior’s feeling about their final match. ‘I think the two previous weekends were amazing for the team and for the seniors,’ Dean said after the loss.’ ‘Too bad we didn’t end there in some ways. I feel terrible for the seniors having to end their careers playing matches that because of the conditions weren’t the real tennis and outcome.’ Sophomore Christine Chiricosta says that the entire team will miss this year’s seniors. ‘We’re going to miss their contributions to the team and their individual personalities,’ Chiricosta said.’ ‘They have all added to the dynamic of the team, both on and off the courts.’ All of the seniors will miss their teammates and have something to teach future Falcons. ‘Tennis is a great opportunity, and BG is a great place to succeed and grow as a person,’ Harrison said.’ ‘I’d tell the [incoming] freshman to really cherish every moment on and off the court. These are the few moments that build our personalities.’ Jakupcin says that as long as next year’s team plays like they did this year, they will be successful. ‘[Next year’s team] needs to take each match one at a time,’ Jakupcin said. ‘Our team did a tremendous job of that this year and didn’t look ahead to future matches and worry about them. We stayed very focused, confident and practiced hard.’ Menoff agreed, saying the time goes by quickly. ‘My advice for future players and teammates would just to enjoy every match that you play and give 100 percent because those four years go quickly and before you know it, it will be over,’ Menoff said. Dean says that the entire team has learned from this year’s seniors and that it’s too early to be thinking about next year’s goals, but if future players follow the seniors’ example on and off the court, they will be successful as well. ‘[The seniors] have lead their [teammates] to a spirit of team in an individual sport and that is amazing,’ Dean said.’ ‘They have handled every situation no matter how devastating and unfair with class.’ The seniors have emphasized and shown the way to excel on the tennis court and in the classroom too.’ ‘