Game Time...Northwestern College makes it spring season debut this weekend against a pair of Minnesota teams, Bethel and Bethany Lutheran. Both matches will be played in Owatonna, Minn. Northwestern will first be matched up against undefeated Bethel at 10am and will conclude the day with a 3pm match against Bethany Lutheran.
All-Time...The Red Raiders are 0-3 all-time against Bethel, last playing the Royals last year when they lost 9-0. Northwestern is 2-0 all-time against Bethany Lutheran, defeating the Vikings 8-1 last season.
vs Bethany Lutheran:
Bethel University Royals: 3-0 Head Coach: Drew Fernelius (5th season)
The Royals are off to a perfect 3-0 start to the 2016-17 season, earning two wins last fall (Buena Vista and Southwest Minnesota State) and defeating Northwestern (Minn.) last weekend, 5-4. Bethel is a member of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference where they are picked to finish fourth in the coaches' preseason poll.
Drew Fernelius, the 2016 MIAC coach of the year, took over both tennis programs at Bethel in 2013 and is in his fifth season as head coach. He led the Royals to the best season in program history last year, finishing with a 19-5 record, including a 13-0 record in non-conference matches. They currently have an 18-match, non-conference win streak. Bethel qualified for the postseason for just the second time in program history last season under Fernelius.
Both Mattie Kidder and Sydney Parkinson return after earning all-conference honors in singles' play. Kidder is 2-0 in both singles and doubles this season and Parkinson is 2-1 playing in the top singles spot and 1-0 in doubles play. Jill Weinzettel leads the Royals with a 3-0 record in singles.
Bethany Lutheran College Vikings: 0-5 Head Coach: Jill Bailey (1st)
The Vikings are winless in five matches so far this season, losing to Grand View 8-1 last weekend in their spring season opener. Last fall, they dropped matches to Grand View (9-0), Simpson (9-0), Wisconsin-Stout (9-0) and Alverno (7-2).
Picked fourth out of six teams in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference preseason coaches' poll, Bethany Lutheran returns six starters who had significant time on the court last season. Bailey is in her first season as the Vikings' head coach, having served as a successful high school coach for a number of years prior. Bethany Lutheran finished fourth in the UMAC last year at 3-7, 4-19 overall.
Sabrina Batalden posted a 7-10 record last season and is the Vikings' top returner. She is 1-3 at the #4 spot this year. Alicia Kranz went 5-15 last year and is 1-1 this season, playing in either the #1 or #5 spot.
Northwestern College: 1-0 Head Coach: Jeff Guthmiller (12th year)
The Red Raiders are 1-0 this season, earning a 7-2 win over Buena Vista last fall in Storm Lake, Iowa. They swept all three doubles matches and picked up four wins singles'; Lozano, Ayeni, Holscher and McGinnis.
Guthmiller returns two starters and three players from a 2016 team that just missed out on postseason play, finishing tied for sixth in the GPAC with a 2-6 record, 4-13 overall. Guthmiller is the winningest coach in program history (85-100) and has guided the Red Raiders to the postseason eight times.
McKayla Johnson is the only senior on this year's roster and is a three-year starter for the Red Raiders. Johnson earned all-conference at #2 doubles and was named all-conference in singles play in 2015. She has a 15-27 career record in singles play, 18-26 in doubles. Kendra McGinnis posted a 5-12 record at #3 singles in 2016, 2-15 in doubles. McGinnis sports a 1-0 record in both singles and doubles this year.
Up Next...Northwestern will play College of Saint Benedict on Feb. 17 in St. Joseph, Minn.
Senior from Sioux Falls, S.D.
Sophomore from Nebraska City, Neb.
Freshman from Buffalo Center, Iowa
Freshman from Scottsbluff, Neb.
Freshman from San Diego, Calif.