June 7, 2006
BALTIMORE, Md. - Since Coach Rick McClure took over the Loyola College women's tennis program 18 years ago, the Greyhounds have found a way to end the year with a winning record. The 2005-2006 season was no exception as Loyola recorded its 18th straight winning campaign, ending the year with a 10-9 record and a fourth-place finish in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Boasting a senior-laden lineup, the Greyhounds opened the dual match season with three wins in their first four matches. After a tough loss to Mount St. Mary's University on March 17, the Greyhounds ran off three straight wins to improve to 6-2 on the season. However, Loyola fell into a short slump by losing three tough matches in four days, including a pair of conference setbacks to Siena and Marist at home.
Despite being 6-5 at that point, the Greyhounds continued on their mission of another winning season and rebounded with a 7-0 victory over the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore on April 5. Following a loss at Manhattan two days later, the Greyhounds earned back-to-back victories over Fairfield and Saint Peter's, upping their record to 9-6.
Looking to build on the momentum from those two victories, Loyola faced a tough St. Joseph's squad and fell by 4-3 at home before earning its final win of the season, a 5-2 conference victory at Rider on April 17. The Greyhounds ended the regular season the following afternoon by being swept by local rival Towson. Three days later, Loyola's season came to a close when the Greyhounds lost to Fairfield in the opening round of the conference tournament.
Senior Amy Nitch etched her name in the Loyola women's tennis record book with an outstanding senior season. As the number 1 singles player, she recorded an 11-13 record and improved her career record to 65-34, which ranks sixth on the school's career list. Meanwhile, she also earned a 16-9 mark in doubles by teaming up with fellow senior Jessica Liberatore. Nitch and Liberatore combined to win 53 doubles matches together, breaking the school record for career wins with the same partner.
Liberatore earned nine wins at number 2 singles, ending her career with a 60-48 mark and stands 12th on the school's career singles wins list. Her 116 total wins (singles and doubles) ranks eighth in school history.
Three other seniors ended their careers with success during the 2005-2006 campaign. Senior Stefanie Clay earned an 11-13 mark at number 5 singles while teaming up with sophomore Mallory Tarca to produce eight wins in doubles play, splitting time at the number 2 and 3 positions. Senior Laura Cuti teamed up with senior Courtney Van Slooten and won two of four matches. Cuti had a 5-6 singles record while Van Slooten won two singles matches during the season.
While the seniors were making their mark on the program, the underclassmen also had their moments to shine. Sophomore Meaghan McKenna spent most of the year at number 3 singles and won 11 singles matches to go with nine doubles wins. She was also named as the MAAC Co-Player of the Week after guiding the Greyhounds to a pair of wins in March.
Junior Christi Lazar teamed up with McKenna at number 2 doubles and earned a 4-6 record while taking six singles victories at the number 3 spot. Tarca also had success playing at number 6 singles, earning a 13-11 record while teaming up with Clay in doubles play.
Freshman Stefanie Menzano and sophomore Liz Lynah also saw time in the lineup for the Greyhounds in fall tournament competition.
While the Greyhounds lose a great deal with its five seniors, they gain seven freshmen to the roster, which will make the 2006-2007 season something to look forward. The Greyhounds will go searching for their 19th straight winning campaign with a young and enthusiastic squad.