The posting of new ITA rankings resulted in sophomore Stephanie Vlad jumping back into the top 50 (No. 48) and sophomore Desirae Krawczyk returning to the rankings after dropping out of them Feb. 11.
Vlad and Krawczyk will lead the charge against Western Michigan. Despite having no ranked players and not being ranked as a team, Western Michigan holds an 8-4 record.
“They’re solid down the line,” ASU coach Sheila McInerney said.
Three of the Broncos’ four losses came against ranked teams.
“They’ll come in here expecting to play well and expecting to have a good match against us,” McInerney said.
McInerney said they played competitively against Indiana, despite losing 5-2.
“(Western Michigan is) a team that’s going to make you play a lot of balls,” McInerney said.
She said there are no “superstars” on the Western Michigan team, but that it should be a good challenge for ASU.
“Each player really has to take care of their own match and, sort of, their own court,” McInerney said.
Western Michigan will be arriving three days before the match to grow accustomed to Arizona playing conditions. The team typically plays matches indoors and will have to practice on the outdoor ASU courts.
McInerney has repeatedly expressed that tennis players are trained to adapt to unusual conditions, and changes typically don’t make a big difference for the players.
The Western Michigan team is led by senior Nini Sujashvili, who has twice been named to the second team All-MAC. Vlad will likely be playing against her Sunday.
This weekend is the beginning of an unusual schedule for ASU. The Sun Devils don’t have a match on Saturday.
McInerney said she doesn’t expect this to affect the teams’ play against Western Michigan.
The team then plays on Friday at Washington instead of a typical weekend match. They then have six days off of games before playing against Yale in Tempe on March 13.
Saturday ASU plays BYU, and the next Tuesday will be against Purdue. Both of these games will be in Tempe as well.
McInerney said many teams want to play in Arizona during spring break because of the weather.
“You can’t pass up those matches,” she said. “You want teams to come out here if they can. … You try to accommodate as many teams.”
Spring break is still more than a week away, and ASU women’s tennis is looking at Western Michigan now.
No. 29 ASU, 6-1 in the month of February, will look to extend its winning streak to four games and push their overall successful month into March.
Matchplay begins at 11 a.m. at the Whiteman Tennis Center.
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