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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Men, women’s tennis gears up”

After starting the first five games at home, the women’s tennis team will travel to Texas to take on Rice and Intercollegiate Tennis Association No. 73-ranked Texas Tech.

For the women’s squad (5-0), the first road trip of the year is coming on the heels of a big win over Intercollegiate Tennis Association No. 45 San Diego last weekend. One question entering the weekend will be how well the confidence will transfer over from the win — especially with a shortened week of practice.

Because of the recent rain, the team has had little opportunity to practice on the courts. Head coach Vicky Maes says she feels that the team is in good enough physical and mental shape to head into the weekend and still be successful on the road.

“”Our focus is on winning matches, and we will have to make a quick adjustment to the courts and the environment,”” Maes said.

While Texas Tech (3-1) is the school that is ranked, Maes actually believes that Rice (3-3) will give them a bigger challenge.

“”We will need to do a great job in doubles, hopefully come away with the advantage there and also be ready to play long singles matches,”” Maes said.

As wins begin to accumulate, the Wildcats may be staring down a ranking by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association soon. However, the head coach claims that this is not the team’s main focus right now and that a ranking would simply be a “”bonus.””

With five of their next eight opponents ranked, it will only be a matter of time before the team’s goal of being ranked will start panning out. With two wins this weekend, they will only improve their stock in the eyes of the Association.

Men stay put, take on

NMSU, Cal Poly

The UA men’s tennis team will host Intercollegiate Tennis Association No. 68 New Mexico State today at 12 p.m. and Cal Poly on Sunday at noon. Both matches will take place at LaNelle Robson Tennis Center.

Unlike the women, the men (2-1) can simply solidify their ranking this weekend. After having last weekend off, they come in as the No. 23-ranked team in the country.

Two weekends ago, the team traveled to Alabama for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Kick-Off Weekend tournament, where they lost to now-No.19 Alabama and beat now-No.28 Auburn. After coming out of their first test, the men are back home to start back on their regular schedule.

Both matches this weekend feature teams that the Wildcats have seen in the past year, so there is some familiarity.

Last season, UA defeated Cal Poly (0-2) with a score of 7-0 and New Mexico State (2-1) at 6-1. According to head coach Tad Berkowitz, both teams will provide tough match-ups as they’ve improved over the past year.

The Wildcats witnessed New Mexico State’s team already this year in an individual tournament during the fall, and Berkowitz said they provided good, competitive matches.

“”It’s a matter of locking in and competing as best as we can and coming in with a good fiery attitude,”” Berkowitz said of this weekend. “”If they can keep their focus and stay strong, we’ll be OK.””

While not having matches last weekend could have its disadvantages to some teams, Berkowitz has used the past two weeks to work on the men’s doubles, an aspect of their team game on which they have been improving for months.

While the Wildcats may be going into these matches expecting wins, Berkowitz knows both opponents are dangerous, simply because the men’s game at the college level is so deep.

“”We need to be ready with our A-game and hopefully we’ll get the job done,”” he said.

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