The Baldwin Wallace University women's tennis program has a rich tradition and history of being among the finest in the Ohio Athletic Conference and Central Region of Division III. Four times since 2007, the Yellow Jackets have won an OAC title and advanced to the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament.
"We feel that our women's tennis program has the support to be one of the best in the OAC and Central Region of the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association)," said second-year Head Coach Morse '03, who graduated as one the winningest men's tennis student-athletes in school history. "Our ultimate goal is to win the NCAA Division III national title.
"Each year, we begin the season with goals of winning an OAC regular season title, then an OAC Tournament title and to go as far as possible in the national tournament. We are extremely proud of the fact that we have made four trips to the NCAA Championships in the past decade (from 2007-2011).
"In addition, we challenge each of our young women to do as well as possible in the classroom and to be active and an effective leader on our campus," said Morse, who was both an Al-OAC and Academic All-OAC standout as a player at BW. "We are proud of the fact that we have a significant amount of our players also earn Academic All-OAC honors each year and we are annually recognized by the ITA for our success both in the classroom and on the tennis court."
Four OAC Titles and NCAA Division III National Tournament Appearances in Five Seasons
In 2006-2007, BW finished with a school-record 25 victories and had a 25-3 overall record. The Jackets won the OAC regular season title (9-0 record), captured the OAC Tournament crown and advanced to its first-ever NCAA Division III National Tournament. At the NCAA tourney, BW defeated Albion College of Michigan to mark the first-ever NCAA Tournament win by a women's team from the OAC.
The 2007-2008 squad compiled an 18-7 overall record and played the toughest overall schedule in Head Coach Jack Bethlenfalvy's career. BW won its second straight OAC regular season title with a perfect 9-0 mark, captured its second consecutive OAC Tournament crown, extended its winning streak versus OAC opponents to 24 straight matches (includes regular season and OAC Tournament wins) and advanced to the 2008 NCAA Division III National Tournament.
In 2009-2010, BW compiled an 18-8 overall record, a perfect 9-0 OAC slate to win the OAC regular season title for the second straight year, went 3-0 to capture its second straight OAC Tournament crown and advanced to the 2010 NCAA Division III National Tournament for the third time in four years. This time it faced Calvin (Mich.) College in Chicago, Illinois.
In 2010-2011, BW again compiled an 18-8 overall record and had an 8-1 OAC record to capture OAC regular season and OAC Tournament titles for the fourth time in five seasons. The The Yellow Jackets also made their fourth trip to the NCAA Championship Tournament and played Wheaton (Ill.) College in the first round in Greencastle, Indiana.
"We were extremely proud to have represented the OAC in 2006-2007 and win the first-ever match by an OAC school in the NCAA Div. III national tourney," said Bethlenfalvy, who retired at the end of the 2018 season after 34 years at the helm and compiling a 390-300 career record. "Then, to lose our top two players off that team and come back to win the OAC title again in 2007-2008 was a true testament to our student-athletes."
The Fall Season
The Yellow Jackets begin the season in the fall and traditionally play several dual matches, in one invitational tournament and at the Annual ITA Central Region Tournament. Most of the time is spent in training and building team unity for the spring and OAC season.
The Winter Training and Spring Break Trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina
The winter season begins in February and is used to prepare the team for its annual Spring Break Trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Prior to its trip south, BW generally plays two-to-three dual matches at indoor facilities in Northeast Ohio.
In Hilton Head, Morse's team plays five-to-seven dual matches and he seeks to play the best possible opponents. This year's trip is scheduled for March 7-13, 2020.
"We go to Hilton Head for three reasons," said Morse. "We utilize the experience to train, play good competition and have fun and continue to build team unity and cohesiveness. Our student-athletes need a break following the first half of winter semester and Hilton Head offers a laid-back atmosphere where we can play some good tennis and have a lot of fun. The kids really enjoy the trip."
The Northern Schedule, the OAC and the Division III National Tournament
The spring season begins as soon as the team returns from Hilton Head. The Northeastern Ohio weather doesn't always have to cooperate either.
BW plays its matches at the "Pop" Collins Tennis Complex that is located on campus and named after former professor and coach Arthur "Pop" Collins. If there is inclement weather, the Yellow Jackets have the option of playing matches indoors at several different local facilities.
"Our facilities are excellent," said Morse. "When you combine the "Pop" Collins Courts with the local indoor facilities with the ability to also practice inside our own Higgins Center, it gives our program a big advantage. Plus, the support from our administration is among the best in Division III."
BW plays in the prestigious 10-team Ohio Athletic Conference. Each OAC team plays the other nine and the team with the best regular season record is the OAC regular season champion and top seed in the OAC Tournament. The winner of the OAC Tournament receives an automatic berth in the Division III National Tournament.
The OAC Tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio
The top eight teams during the OAC regular season qualify for the OAC Tournament. First round matches are played on campus sites with the top four seeds receiving a home court advantage.
The past few years, the OAC Tournament Final Four has been played at the nationally-renown Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. The facility has 16 courts and a main center court that has been the site of numerous professional and amateur championship events.
"It is a great privilege for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to play in Mason and at the Lindner Family Tennis Center," said Morse. "Our young ladies have thrived there. Obviously they like the facility and the experience as we have won three OAC Tournament titles there. It is a great experience and certainly one that not every college tennis student-athlete gets the opportunity to have."
Additional BW Women's Tennis Historical Information:
- Longtime BW Women's Tennis Coach Jack Bethlenfalvy (1985-2018) Announces His Retirement
- Baldwin Wallace Grad and Longtime Tennis Analyst Bud Collins '51 passes Away at 86 (Story Here)
- BW Graduate Bud Collins '51 on Wikipedia (Here)
All-Time Baldwin Wallace University Women's Tennis Team Records:
- Most Victories in a Single-Season: 25 in 2005
- Best Single-Season Winning Percentage: .929 (13-1 overall record) in 1992
- Most OAC Wins in a Single-Season: 9 (2001, 2007, 2008 and 2010)
- Best Single-Season OAC Winning Percentage: 1.000 (2001, 2007, 2008 and 2010)
- Consecutive Victories in a Single-Season: 15 (2010)
- Most Consecutive OAC Wins: 26 (from 2007 through 2009)
- Consecutive NCAA Division III National Tournament appearances: 2 (2006-2007 and 2007-2008/ 2009-2010 and 2010-2011)