What makes the IUP women’s tennis team unique isn’t the fact the Crimson Hawks’ roster is dotted with international players.
Schools in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, in which IUP competes, have recruited international players for years. In fact, of the 15 member institutions who field women’s tennis teams, eight have at least one international player on their roster this season.
What makes IUP unique is that its entire roster consists of international players. Nine players from seven countries, to be exact, and that’s not an anomaly.
IUP has fielded an all-international team each of the past four seasons. The last U.S.-born player to play at IUP was Maryland native Alanna McFail in 2015-16.
But that’s not to say what IUP has done in recent years is new. For the better part of a decade, the Crimson Hawks’ rivals in the PSAC West Division like California, Edinboro and Mercyhurst have gone after and successfully recruited international talent.
Of its seven players on the roster this season, Mercyhurst has six internationals hailing from five countries. In 2016-17, seven of Edinboro’s eight players were born outside the U.S, and before that, California University of Pennsylvania featured an all-international team five times in a seven-season stretch between 2007-08 and 2013-14.
Each of those schools achieved unprecedented successes with the international recruiting approach, as has IUP in recent years.
Now in his 12th season at IUP, coach Larry Peterson guided the Crimson Hawks to back-to-back Atlantic Region and PSAC titles in 2017 and 2018, the first region and conference titles in school history.
Furthermore, IUP has made nine consecutive Atlantic Region tournaments and eight straight appearances in the NCAA Division II Championships. Along with that, the Crimson Hawks have played in the PSAC Championship each of the past nine years.
Recently, our staffers at The Penn Sports Network joined Peterson and his players for a behind-the-scenes look at the IUP women’s tennis program and what makes the all-international approach work for the Crimson Hawks.