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Published: Friday, 3/24/2006

BGSU tennis team wins, shows no fear

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Showing no fear is one reason why the Bowling Green State University women's tennis team is on a record winning streak heading into Mid-American Conference play.

Winners of nine consecutive matches, the most since they joined the MAC in 1980, the Falcons fail to be intimidated, even on off days.

On a recent spring break trip to Florida, the team chose a day at Universal Studios as its leisure activity. Four players participated in "Fear Factor," a live version of the hit reality TV show in which contestants are asked to perform various dread-inducing stunts.

Senior Heidi Romer and freshman Stephanie Menoff participated in the physical challenges, which involved swinging from a rope trying to pass bean bags and octopi back and forth. Going up against a male duo, senior Andrea Meister and junior Erica Wolfe drank "bug juice," a blended concoction of spoiled milk, rotted cheese, crickets, grasshoppers and maggots.

"It really wasn't that bad, it tasted like tuna, I thought," Meister said. "One of the guys puked, but Erica and I just kept going."

The Falcons finished 3-0 on their spring trip. BGSU (11-4) is one victory away from matching its win total from last season. The Falcons will face Akron today and Buffalo tomorrow at Shadow Valley Tennis & Fitness Center.

"The team has really good work ethic and sticks together," said 16th-year coach Penny Dean.

"In a couple of these matches, we've been in the last match, the third set and they have been determined to get it.

"Everybody's very confident, but yet we're not overconfident. We still realize the work it took to get to this point."

BGSU, which was predicted to finish fifth in the MAC in the preseason, finished seventh last year. The team feels its winning streak will give it momentum going into conference play.

"One you get on a streak, no one wants to start losing," Romer said. "We have that extra effort every match. We have a really competitive team this year."

Sophomore Jenna Nussbaum was named MAC player of the week this week, going 5-1 in Orlando competition. Freshman Kelsey Jakupcin received the award last month.

GYMNAST HONORED: Jessica Guyer, a co-captain on the BGSU gymnastics team, has been named one of three finalists for the Walter Byers Award. The award is for student-athletes who show academic excellence. Guyer maintains a 4.0 grade-point average while majoring in biology.

Guyer, a senior from Columbus, is a star on the vault and floor exercise. The Falcons compete in the MAC Championships at Western Michigan tomorrow.

SOFTBALL COMES HOME: The BGSU softball team, with a record of 15-8, has its home opener tomorrow, a doubleheader against Detroit. Last weekend the Falcons won the 16-team South Florida Invitational in Tampa.

During the tourney, senior pitcher Liz Vrabel set the school record for wins with 57. She was named MAC pitcher of the week on Monday.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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