Jennifer Embry
Jennifer Embry

Nov. 5, 1997

Boilers Look for Successful Weekend at Regional Tournament

The Purdue women's tennis team has seen its share of success this fall, but would like nothing better than to have that success continue through the Rolex/I.T.A. Region IV Championships Nov. 6-9 in Madison, Wis. The top 64 singles players and top 32 doubles teams from the Midwest qualified to compete in this event. Five singles players and two doubles teams will represent the Old Gold and Black. Purdue's greatest hope for individual success lies in senior Mary Beth Maggart. Maggart is the 38th-ranked player in the country and third-seeded player in the tournament, whose winners and runners-up earn automatic bids to the Rolex/I.T.A. National Indoor Championships in Dallas Feb. 5-8. Maggart missed that automatic berth last year by the slimmest of margins, advancing all the way to the semifinals before losing to Wisconsin's Melissa Zimpfer, the eventual champion. "Mary Beth had an outstanding tournament last year, and we have high expectations for her again this year," Purdue coach Mat Iandolo said. "She has played a lot of good tennis this fall and is ready for this challenge."

Sophomores Jennifer Embry and Shannon Taheny may also provide bright spots for Purdue. Taheny, who struggled in Purdue's dual match season last spring, has rebounded after a successful summer on the circuit. Her work in the off-season paid off this autumn, as she won the back draws of the No. 1 flights in both the Notre Dame Eck Tennis Classic and the Rice Tennis Classic earlier this month. Embry was Purdue's No. 2 singles player behind Maggart last season. She has improved her game after playing in some of the toughest fall tournaments the nation has to offer. "Jennifer and Shannon might surprise some people, but their success is not a surprise to me," Iandolo said. "They left at the end of the school year very determined, worked hard to get better over the summer, and now they are reaping some of the rewards from that. They should both advance a ways in this tournament."

Freshman Erika Quebe and Lisa Walgenbach are also in the mix for the Boilers. Quebe has been on a roll since she first donned the Old Gold and Black, winning the No. 2 flight in her collegiate debut at the Eck Tennis Classic Oct. 5. Quebe, Purdue's Female Athlete-of-the-Month for October, won three matches at the Ohio State Bruegger's Invitational (Oct. 10-12) and was a semifinalist in the Rice Tennis Classic (Oct. 17-19). Walgenbach advanced to the semifinals of the No. 2 flight at Notre Dame and won two matches at Rice.

"I have been very impressed with our freshmen," Iandolo said. "They have played with no fear, and that certainly will help in a tournament like this. They've never been here before, so they don't really know what to expect. Hopefully that will concentrate their efforts on playing tennis, rather than worrying about things that are out of their control."

In addition to these five singles contenders, the Boilers also have two doubles teams competing for a title. Maggart and Embry comprise one of those teams, while Quebe and Taheny make up the other. Quebe and Taheny were semifinalists at Notre Dame, Ohio State and Rice. Maggart and Embry won three matches at Ohio State. Both doubles teams received first-round byes. Taheny and Walgenbach have 9 a.m. singles matches. Taheny plays Minnesota's Alice Rangsithienchai, while Walgenbach takes on Jean Kansuthi of Eastern Michigan. Embry begins at 10:15 a.m. with a match against Ohio State's Brianna Harris. Maggart plays Indiana State's Kathy Najbert in a first round match beginning at 10:30 a.m. The latest match for Purdue begins at 11:15 a.m. and features Quebe against Karen Black of Evansville. Second round matches will also be played Thursday (Nov. 6).