Tennis opens season in Wolverine Invitational

The ASU women’s tennis team kicks off the start of its season on Friday at the Wolverine Invitational in Ann Arbor, Mich.

This three-day event, hosted by Michigan, consists of six schools.

The Sun Devils face defending national champions Florida in doubles and host Michigan in singles on the first day.

Playing in the season opener will be senior Hannah James, sophomore Joanna Smith and freshmen Desirae Krawczyk and Stephanie Vlad.

“This tournament will be eye-opening for the freshman playing three potential top-ten teams in the nation (as their first test),” said coach Sheila McInerney.

But McInerney isn’t worried about her new players.

“We wouldn’t have recruited them if we didn’t feel they would play really well for us,” she said.

In addition to playing the Gators and the Wolverines, the Sun Devils faces Pac-12 conference rival Utah, Iowa and Georgia in the tournament. This should be a tough challenge for ASU, who finished the season at 11-9 last year and placed seventh in the conference.

Although the girls just started practice last Saturday, McInerney just wants to take things one day at a time.

“It will be a quick turnaround. I expect the players to be a little rusty, but we will really get a feel of things during this tournament,” she said.

Last time the Sun Devils faced Utah was in April, and they only had four healthy players. Playing with a healthy squad should give the team a boost of confidence in this matchup and help them prepare to face the Utes again in March.

McInerney’s main focus for this tournament and the rest of the fall will be to see how well the freshmen fit in with the rest of the team and who will be partnered up for the three doubles teams.

“This is still the ‘preseason,’” McInerney said. “We won’t have a lineup set until the day before our first match in January. We need to see where everyone will fit.”

It’s been a long summer intermission, but the Sun Devils are ready and excited to begin the 2012-13 season.

“We are going to a place we have never been, and we are excited to go so it should be fun,” said McInerney.

The Wolverine Invitational runs from Sept. 21 through Sept. 23

 

Reach the reporter at dillon.rosenblatt@asu.edu