WOMEN’S TENNIS: Beavers add European duo to recruiting class

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Bemidji State Beavers

BEMIDJI -- A pair of European recruits have committed to join the Bemidji State women’s tennis team, head coach Kyle Fodness announced Thursday. Claudie Billand (Mulhouse, France) and Sophie Groen (Uitgeest, Netherlands) have each signed a National Letter of Intent and plan to start their BSU careers this fall.

The Bemidji State tennis team has a history of international players, including 2020 senior Ariadna Lopez from Barcelona, Spain, though Billand is believed to be the first Beaver from France and Groen the first from the Netherlands.

“Both Sophie and Claudie are very talented and experienced players. Both are very athletic and are excited to improve their games at the college level,” Fodness said in a news release.

Billand attended Jean Mermoz High School in Saint-Louis, France, and has played tennis for more than 12 years. She has twice won a regional championship in doubles.

Groen arrives at BSU from Bonhoeffer College in the Netherlands where she played for TC Bakkum and Geert Koeman. She has competed at multiple regional and national championships and has been ranked as high as No. 118 in the Netherlands.


Billand and Groen join Shaelyn Johnson (Grand Forks, N.D.) and Isabela Nelson (Thief River Falls) who each committed to the team early in the signing period.

Bemidji State finished the pandemic-shortened 2020 season at 7-7. The team has lost Lopez, Hannah Alme and Brooke Mimmack to graduation, but returns four players, including captains Hannah Peterson and Laney Rutkowski.

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