The eight-hour rule can’t expire quickly enough for the ASU women’s tennis team. The NCAA guideline prohibiting teams from practicing more than eight hours a week — only spending two on the court — has been in effect since practice started just over two weeks ago. A full practice schedule doesn’t begin until this weekend.
ASU’s first tournament of the season takes place Sept. 20, 21 and 22. The Michigan Invitational will play host to three top-25 teams, among others.
Because of the team’s limited time on the court, coach Sheila McInerney hasn’t decided on her No. 1 doubles pairing for the tournament, but she plans to know by Thursday, when the team leaves for Michigan.
Preseason tournaments generally focus on individual play, but McInerney hopes to find out a little bit more about her team over the weekend, specifically which doubles pairings are the most successful.
“We can switch (doubles pairings) up,” McInerney said. “One day we can play with one … and if it doesn’t work out, we’ll switch. With four singles matches and four doubles matches … it gives us a lot of time to experiment with our doubles teams.”
With only one full week of practice under their belts before heading to Michigan, McInerney doesn’t expect everyone to play their best, but she said she hopes to see improvement over the weekend.
“We’ll still have a week of practice, but that’s certainly not enough to get you ready for your first tournament,” McInerney said. “From a coaching perspective, you’re really just trying to get them better as players.”
In preparation for the tournament, McInerney is having her players face each other right off the bat when practice starts Saturday.
Up until Saturday, the team hasn’t had much of a chance to get on-the-court instruction. They have been spending most of their time in the weight room conditioning.
McInerney knows more about how ready some of the players are than others. Both sophomores Desirae Krawcyzk and Stephanie Vlad played tournaments over the summer and worked out at ASU. McInerney said she thinks both will be the most “match ready” of anyone.
“I know where their games are at more than everyone else,” McInerney said. “Everybody else was a little bit more scattered over the summer.”
She noted that freshmen normally do well in early tournaments, because they have been actively playing tournaments over the summer, though Kassidy Jump didn’t get a chance to play in as many because she tweaked her back.
Vlad had been planning on playing in a local tournament last weekend, but a minor groin injury kept her from doing so. Krawcyzk made it to the finals of the same tournament before it was rained out.
None of the injuries are expected to keep anyone from playing in the Michigan Invitational.
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