No. 23 ASU women’s tennis is looking to right its ship after a pair of losses and falling four spots in the ITA rankings.
It’ll start on April 4 against No. 73 Colorado. The Buffaloes hovered around No. 60 in the nation before being shut out in four consecutive matches against now No. 13 USC, No. 3 UCLA, No. 12 California and No. 4 Stanford.
Colorado recovered with a 4-0 victory over Tulane University on March 28.
“A lot of the girls are the same (as last season),” ASU coach Sheila McInerney said about Colorado’s lineup.
The Buffaloes have both experience and depth going for them.
“Colorado is a deep team,” McInerney said.
ASU has also shown depth. Its top five players have shown solid play, and the sixth spot’s occupation has switched between junior Joanna Smith and freshman Gussie O’Sullivan for the majority of the season.
ASU will be playing against No. 30 Utah on April 5. McInerney said the Utes have a strong top of the lineup, led by junior No. 79 Tereza Bekerova.
“Utah, probably, is a little stronger than Colorado,” McInerney said.
ASU also has a strong lineup up top. Sophomore No. 60 Stephanie Vlad will be looking to recover from her three-match losing streak. Sophomore No. 81 Desirae Krawczyk did not lose a step after losing to Cal, defeating her Stanford opponent. Freshman Kassidy Jump has recently shown improvement with strong performances.
McInerney, however, is not taking either of these matches lightly. She said the team can’t rely on the few people who consistently get points.
“Every day is different,” she said. “You have to get to four (points).”
She has emphasized that every team ASU plays the rest of the season will be competitive.
“Everybody’s going to be good,” McInerney said. “We’ll have to play well this weekend.”
That statement will fall onto doubles to get the squad going. No doubles duo got a point over the past weekend of matches, but McInerney still isn’t sure if she’s going to leave the lineups be for another week or change them.
An option she has is to put Jump back with Krawczyk. The two won a few matches and gained the first ASU doubles rank of the season, coming in 56th on March 25.
McInerney said she won’t change practices.
“You don’t change things up, just keep working hard,” she said. “I think the kids know what they need to work on.”
The team has to look more at itself than opponents in order to improve and win matches.
“We realize who have a long way to go,” McInerney said. “We certainly can improve.”
Colorado’s recent losses have been to highly ranked opponents. Utah has defeated Marshall, Houston and Washington State in the last few weeks while hanging tough in losses to Cal and USC.
“These guys are going to give us tough matches, and we’re going to have to play well to win,” McInerney said.
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