FAYETTEVILLE-The University of Arkansas
women's tennis team should not look at the 2004 season as a time of
gloomy defeats early tournament exits, but as a time well spent with
promise of restoring the glory days to Lady Razorback tennis.
The 2004 season could be viewed many ways,
depending on how the spectator views the glass. Half empty and you would
see a Lady'Back team dwelling at the bottom Southeastern Conference.
However, the view of a half full glass would show much more than
Under new head coach Michael Hegarty, the
Lady'Backs cut the margin of loss in five SEC matches and shot off to
their best season start since 1991. Consequently, injuries continued
to play a role, plaguing the Lady Razorbacks and left them struggling
to even fill the roster.
The Lady Razorbacks began the season with
a seven home matches against Vanderbilt and six other teams from the
surrounding area. Arkansas promptly knocked off all six regional teams,
and made every point count despite a 5-2 loss to Vanderbilt on Valentine's
The cruising Lady'Backs went into the toughest
part of their season 6-1, but couldn't take advantage of their momentum
as they fell winless in their next four attempts. All four losses came
against SEC teams who all ranked in the top 35.
The Lady'Backs returned home to challenge
a skilled Tulsa squad, but fell in their first non-conference match,
5-2. Arkansas returned to its winning ways the following in North Carolina
with a 5-2 victory over the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
The win did not carry much weight, however,
as the Lady Razorbacks were handed losses
in the next six SEC opportunities. The Lady'Backs closed out the 2004
season with a loss in New Orleans against Tulane.
Going into the SEC tournament, no one saw
the Lady Razorbacks as much threat to first round opponent LSU. However,
Arkansas' never-say-die attitude gave the Tigers a run for their money
and gained waves of respect from all in attendance, which marks a new
beginning for Arkansas tennis.