April 1, 2014

Three seniors to play final home match for Women's Tennis

Collin Boyles

GREELEY -- The end of an era awaits Northern Colorado Women's Tennis as three seniors prepare to play their final match at the Butler-Hancock Tennis Courts. UNC will host Big Sky opponent North Dakota for Senior Day at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 4.

Seniors Stephanie Catlin (Basingstoke, England), Adriana Nieto (Southlake, Texas) and Taylor Schumacher (Austin, Texas) will be graduating this May and will play their final matches at home with the Bears. The three seniors joined the UNC family during the 2010-11 season and have totaled for spring wins of 63 in singles and  66 in doubles.

"I consider these three individuals, it's kind of funny to say this but, they are my babies," Head Coach Brenda Vlasak said. "It's sad [to see them leave] but it's bittersweet because I've seen these girls grow up so much right before my very eyes.

"They've been a part of buying into our team philosophies and buying into what we're trying to build. I think those three individuals have had a huge impact on our program and for years to come because of the buy-in."

Catlin leads all current Bears in spring singles and doubles wins with 39 each. She broke out as a freshman while going 11-8 in singles play in the spring before then leading the team with 19 singles wins as a sophomore. The 19 wins helped the Bears reach the Big Sky Championship while the team made the tournament again her junior season. In her junior season, Catlin was second in team wins with 17 while also taking 18 in doubles action. This season she has totaled six singles and seven doubles wins to help the Bears to 5-2 in Big Sky play.

"It's been great having (Nieto and Schumacher) for four years," Catlin said. "It's been nice to have people that you want to hang around with. They're not just teammates, they're really good friends of mine and I'll keep in contact with them after."

Nieto burst onto the scene in 2011 while winning 12 singles and seven doubles spring matches and followed up with spring wins of six in singles and 11 in doubles. After missing last season, she has won three singles matches and eight doubles matches this year.

"This program has come a long way since when we all first got here," Nieto said. "We weren't really seen as a threat in the conference and ... every year we bring in stronger people, so it's been great to see this program change from what it was to a top four team in the conference."

Schumacher played a major role in shaping and leading this season's squad. She was able to take three singles wins during fall action in 2011 while following with a win in singles and doubles that spring. She then finished the 2012 fall season with four singles and two doubles wins. This season she has won her only two singles matches in the No. 6 spot.

"We each contributed something to the program and I think especially with Brenda," Schumacher said. "I think she's the reason why we're all here and she's built this program up. We've been following in her footsteps."

The Bears sit at 7-7 overall and 5-2 in Big Sky matches for this spring season. Since the three seniors joined UNC in 2010-11, the team's conference record has improved each season including two trips to the Big Sky Championship.