Ferrell leading new era for Central women’s tennis
PELLA — The Central College women’s tennis program begins the 2014 season on the heels of its best Iowa Conference finish since 2008.
The Dutch will also usher in a new era under new head coach Ryun Ferrell. Ferrell, who spent the last eight years as the women’s coach at Northern Illinois University, takes over for Steve Tyler, who retired this spring after six years of leading the men’s and women’s programs. Ferrell also spent seven years as head coach of the women’s program at Drake University (1999-2006) and brings 15 years of Division I coaching experience.
“I think that Coach Tyler had a pretty good pair of shoes already here, so we just need to work on polishing those shoes up a bit,” Ferrell said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing where this group of players can take us this year. I know that we’ve got a great group of players, so it’s now about taking it to the next level.”
The Dutch return all six letterwinners from last year’s squad that achieved an 11-6 overall mark and a fourth-place finish in the Iowa Conference. Juniors Angie Allgood and Megan Davis return to the top two spots where they went a combined 21-10 last season. The duo also paired up at No. 1 doubles, going 13-4 overall including a 5-1 mark in the spring.
A two-year starter at No. 1 singles, Allgood went 13-2 last season en route to claiming all- conference honors for the second consecutive year. Allgood had the third-best winning percentage in the league at the top spot and also tied for most wins in the league with five. Davis, who spent her first two seasons at No. 2 singles, was 8-8 last season in singles and received all- conference honors for her work at No. 1 doubles with Allgood.
Also returning for the Dutch are juniors Anna Bowser and Katie Todd and seniors Sarah Montgomery and Ashlyn Huegel. In her first year at No. 3 singles, Bowser went 7-3 last fall and sported a 6-4 record at No. 2 doubles with Huegel. Starting at No. 4 singles for the first time in her career, Huegel was 7-4 in 2013, winning her first five matches of the season. Montgomery and Todd got the start at Nos. 5 and No. 6 singles, respectively, with Todd, an academic all- conference selection, registering an 11-5 record.
With six starters returning, Ferrell is optimistic that his first Central squad can make a push to compete against Luther and Coe, which have combined to win the last 12 league championships.
“I’d like to see us take a shot at Luther and Coe atop the conference and make our own mark this season,” Ferrell said. “We’ve got great athletes that are smart and want to pushed and challenged. We have the athletes that are ready to get something done and who want to make a legacy for themselves. It’s really exciting to have athletes that have that motivation, because when you do, then you get that that extra push.”
Central is scheduled to compete in 10 dual matches this fall, hosting five in Pella.
The Dutch open the season in Illinois on Aug. 30 with matches at Monmouth (Ill.) and Knox (Ill.). Central then returns home to host four consecutive matches, beginning with a double dual on Sept. 6
“The Iowa Conference is a very tough conference and one of the better conferences in Division III,” Ferrell said. “I’m excited about getting to work with these players and seeing what kind of an impact that we can make.”
Following the conclusion of the regular season, the league individual tournament comes to Pella on Oct. 3-4.
“I am really looking forward to hosting the Iowa Conference tournament,” Ferrell said. “One of the things that I’m passionate about is hosting and running events, so I think it’s a great opportunity. I think it’s great that our players have the opportunity to spend the night in their own beds and relax. I’m excited that the players will be able to compete in front of their friends and family.”
The Dutch tennis facilities include six outdoor courts as well as five indoor courts inside H.S. Kuyper Fieldhouse. “We have great indoor and outdoor facilities at Central,” Ferrell said. “I love where the outdoor courts are located and how much space we have out there. I’m excited that my family has the opportunity now to come watch us compete and that they can now be a part of this great tennis program.”