Manon Kruse Sets the PaceOctober 4, 2001 · MT Media Relations
It was three of the biggest wins for the program as the sophomore from Hamm, Germany made each win a little bigger. In the first round she defeated No. 51 Jennifer Radman from South Carolina and in day two she upped the ante with a win over No. 29 Julie Rotondi from North Carolina. In the finals, Kruse won the tournament when she beat No. 4th ranked Vanderbilt University's number one singles, and 17th ranked, Sarah Riske in three games.
"When I came into the tournament at Furman my goal was not to lose all three games I was playing," Kruse said. "I knew it was going to be a tough tournament to play in and I just didn't want to get swept there."
After the first match win, Kruse didn't have to worry about getting swept and she focused on her game. She took each game and match one at a time and didn't really focus on her opponent's rankings because she didn't know.
"Coach (Randy Holden) didn't tell me the rankings of the girls I was scheduled to play," she said. "It was probably a good thing because I get nervous before a match and knowing someone's rankings sometimes makes it worse."
To some it may seem Kruse busted on the scene in the fall out of nowhere. She had a shaky spring season in 2000, even though she was named to the Sun Belt All-Conference singles team.
What some may not know is that all spring she was trying to battle through an ankle injury Kruse suffered in the fall. It set her back and she was never 100 percent in the spring.
Kruse tried to get back to her old self by playing in tournaments over the summer and logged a lot of time on the courts before returning to Middle Tennessee this fall. She spent almost her whole summer playing tournaments and perfecting her game.
"I played 16 matches in four weeks, " Kruse said. "In all I played in seven tournaments over a three and a half month period."
It all seems to be paying off as Kruse is 7-0 in the fall as a singles player and she and doubles partner Stacy Varnell are also undefeated at 7-0. At the Furman Classic the duo knocked off the No. 8 pairs team in the country from South Carolina of Katy Boyanovich and Radman.
"Stacy and I are a great team," Kruse said. "She plays the net really well and has good volleys."
Now Kruse will take a couple of weeks off as she prepares to participate in the Vanderbilt Invitational on October 19-21 and then will travel to Winston-Salem, SC to play in the ITA Regional on Oct. 26-29. It will give Kruse time to work on specific areas of her game and focus on what she needs to accomplish to win.
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