The Baldwin Wallace University women's tennis program is one of the finest in the Ohio Athletic Conference and Central Region of Division III. Every year, Head Coach Jack Bethlenfalvy's women's team is a contender for both an OAC title and a berth in the NCAA Division III National Tournament. The ultimate goal is to win a Division III National Championship.
"We feel that our women's tennis program is one of the best in the OAC and Central Region of the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association)," said Bethlenfalvy, who is the winningest women's tennis coach in OAC history with 371 career victories. "Our ultimate goal is to win the 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.
"In addition, we challenge each of our young women to do as well as possible in the classroom and to be active and effective leaders on our campus," said Bethlenfalvy. "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."
The 2015-2016 Season
In 2015-2016, the Yellow Jackets compiled a 14-10 overall and 5-3 OAC record to place fourth during the regular season. BW defeated arch-rival the University of Mount Union in the first round of the OAC Tournament and then lost to the eventual OAC champion.
Four OAC Titles and NCAA Division III National Tournament Appearances in Six 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 Coach 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 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 second year in a row. This time it faced Calvin (Mich.) College in Chicago, Illinois.
In 2010-2011, BW compiled an 18-8 overall and 8-1 OAC record and captured both an OAC regular season and OAC Tournament titles. 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 represent the OAC and win the first-ever match by an OAC school in the NCAA tourney," said Bethlenfalvy. "Then to lose our top two players off that team and come back to win the OAC titles again in 2007-08 was a true testament to our student-athletes."
The Fall Season
The Yellow Jackets begin the season in the fall and traditionally travel to play in one invitational tournament and at the ITA Central Region Tournament. Occasionally, BW will play one or more dual matches. 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, Bethlenfalvy's team plays five-to-seven dual matches and he seeks to play the best possible opponents.
"We go to Hilton Head for three reasons," said Bethlenfalvy. "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 (see more on the "Pop" Collins Courts on the Facilities page). If there is inclement weather, the Yellow Jackets have the option of playing matches indoors on campus at the outstanding and newly-renovated Lou Higgins Center or at a local tennis facility.
"Our facilities are excellent," said Bethlenfalvy. "When you combine the "Pop" Collins Courts with the Higgins Center and the opportunity to play at a number of local tennis and racquet clubs, it gives our program a big advantage over many others. 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 Bethlenfalvy. "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."
- Wins: 25 in 2005
- Winning Percentage: .929 in 1992
- OAC Wins: 9 (2001, 2007, 2008 and 2010)
- OAC Winning Percentage: 1.000 (2001, 2007, 2008 and 2010)
- Consecutive Victories: 15 (2010)