Who says running drills wastes time?
During doubles at the San Diego match, ASU women’s tennis sophomore Desirae Krawczyk would say one word when her and freshman Kassidy Jump’s opponents fell back to the baseline: “Go.”
At this, the two ASU players would attack the net, return the ball before it could touch the ground, and more often than not, win the point.
On the adjacent court, sophomore Stephanie Vlad and junior Joanna Smith could be seen doing the same.
This tactic is identical to a drill the team runs in practice.
“We’re just trying to be aggressive and not trying to keep the points long,” Vlad said.
The team also often practices with a rope hanging slightly above the net. This helps them instill a reaction to hit the ball slightly higher so it will go over the net.
In games, the players often hit for power, which affects their aim.
Jump is a prime example. When playing at the baseline, she slightly mishit the ball on multiple occasions. The ball would slam into the net, just missing the opposing team’s side of the court.
While playing up on the court, though, Jump finished powerful hits well and won many points.
Junior Leighann Sahagun has also struggled finding a mix of power and accuracy. Her serves are inconsistent. Often, her first serve will hit the net, so she’ll use less power on her second serve and get it over.
On strikes after the serve, she is better at producing powerful and accurate hits.
Sophomore Ebony Panoho attributed this factor to Sahagun’s success. The two were placed together to play in a doubles match Saturday morning.
“She likes to be on top of the net, which actually works with my game really well,” Panoho said.
Coach Sheila McInerney has not found good combinations of players to put in doubles matches. At the beginning of January, she placed Sahagun with Smith. The two occupied the one court for the better part of the season but were moved to court two for the Pepperdine match.
Sahagun said their confidence had been decreasing since the San Jose State match.
McInerney took notice of this and said it affected their play. Additionally, she said the doubles teams were not performing as well as they could have been.
“We lost a doubles point to Pepperdine, didn’t play that well,” McInerney said. “You can get stale with the same partner all the time.”
Krawczyk and Jump were moved to the top spot for the Pepperdine match and have resided there since.
McInerney switched Smith to play with Vlad.
“Jo(anna Smith) is very aggressive at the net,” Vlad said. “I think my big groundstrokes compliment that very well.”
The two won their Saturday match against Nevada 8-2.
“We can easily have three very good teams,” McInerney said. “I think it’s just a matter of maybe just the chemistry of the teams.”
She said she would continue to search for the right pairings and would continue switching as the season progressed.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Logan_Newsman