Brett Bridel

The Lewis University men’s and women’s tennis squads have undergone a complete and total renovation since the arrival of head coach Brett Bridel in 2007.

Not only has the Great Lakes Valley Conference been put on notice, the rest of the nation is well aware of the Flyers too. The men’s team, led by two-time GLVC Player of the Year, Uno Lapimaa, has made trips to the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament in two out of the last three years. In the fall of 2011, Lapimaa earned a fifth-place finish at the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships singles bracket.

Not to be outdone, the Lewis women’s team has made consecutive trips to the GLVC Championship, culminating with the Flyers’ first ever conference title in 2012. The Flyers - who finished 24-3 - went on to claim the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship and were ranked as high as No. 22 in the country, before falling in the ‘Sweet 16’. For his efforts, Bridel was named the Wilson/ITA Midwest Region ‘Coach of the Year’.

Spearheading the Flyers’ run to the ‘Sweet 16’ was the performances of sophomores Zsofia Lanstiak and Zsofia Kranczicki. Lanstiak, the 2012 GLVC Player of the Year and ITA Midwest Region ‘Player To Watch’, and Kranczicki the 2011 GLVC Freshman of the Year and ITA Midwest Region ‘Rookie of the Year’ combined for 138 singles and doubles wins in 2011-12. That accounted for 68.0% of the Flyers victories for the entire season. Lanstiak and Kranczicki also paired up for the USTA/ITA Small College National Championships and finished third overall, while Kranczicki placed eighth in the singles bracket. It was the first time since 2004 that Lewis qualified anyone for that tournament.

In the classroom, both teams earned ITA All-Academic Team honors. Seven men and four women were individually named to the team. The men’s squad was one of 14 Division II schools to earn the award. Both teams earned GLVC Team Academic Awards for having a GPA above 3.3. In the past two years, Lewis has had three Capital One Academic All-America At-Large 3rd Team selections, including Lapimaa, Lanstiak and Lorenz Pestinger (2011).

Bridel has coached three GLVC Freshmen of the Year (Lapimaa, 2009; Jana Schultz, 2010; Kranczicki, 2011). Schultz was also named ITA Midwest Regional Rookie of the Year and Jody Wagner was named an ITA Scholar Athlete in 2010.