The No. 18 Texas A&M women’s tennis team is looking to rebound from last week’s loss with a match against Illinois and McNeese on Feb. 14 at the Mitchell Tennis Center.
The team suffered a 5-2 loss to the No. 15 University Central Florida Knights last week at the USTA National Campus, but A&M head coach Mark Weaver said the team is prepared to bounce back in this weekend’s matches.
“We’ve had a pretty tough schedule to start the season off with,” Weaver said. “We lost to Florida State at their home court, and we lost to Central Florida at their home court as well.”
For Weaver, an important factor playing into the success of the team this season is about bouncing back from adversity.
“It’s just kinda about getting back up and I think we’ve actually played quite well in every match this year,” Weaver said. “We had a really close 5-2 loss that could’ve easily gone our way if we hit a couple key points. I’m just looking for us to bounce back and fight at every position while being confident on our home courts.”
The team has been focusing a lot on sharpening up the doubles this week in preparation for the match against Illinois and McNeese this weekend, Weaver said.
“The doubles points are always very important,” Weaver said. “It’s not life or death, but when you get two very good teams playing against each other those double points are key. It’s tough to win four out of six singles matches against really good teams so we’ve emphasized that a lot.”
Junior Tatiana Makarova said her main goal this weekend is to be focused on every point on her court to achieve victory.
“Last year when we played against them in Illinois, I didn’t do my best,” Makarova said. “Personally, it’s important for me to rehabilitate and give my best. Playing on our home courts will help me and the team get the win.”
Before heading into SEC play, Makarova explained this week and next are the last opportunities for the team to make improvements and test out players. Makarova added that her reliable strength over the season has been playing aggressively close to the net.
“I’ve been trying to speed up the point in order to take time away from my opponent,” Makarova said. “My movement has been really successful for me too.”
Weaver said the team is excited to be home for a four-game stand after traveling most of January.
“Pretty much all of February is here on our home courts and we play very well at home,” Weaver said.
Junior Dorthea Faa-Hviding said there’s a great advantage to playing outdoors at home this week against their opponents.
“We’ve played more outdoor tennis than they have,” said Faa-Hviding. “We’re also very ready and we’ve practiced a lot.”
The opportunity to battle Illinois again is what Faa-Hviding is looking forward to going into this weekend’s match.
“Trying to get revenge on them would be really good,” Faa-Hviding said. “That hurt last year when we lost to them at their place so I’m really excited to play them.”
At the top of Faa-Hviding’s priorities list is staying healthy and focusing on the long term goals of the season.
“We’re all going to benefit so much from the hard work we’ve put in when the SEC comes around in March,” Faa-Hviding said.
Weaver said as a team it’s about looking for the next opportunity to compete.
“We’ve got a great opportunity against a really good team in Illinois and the McNeese match will give everyone a chance to compete in singles and doubles,” Weaver said.
The Aggies will be on the court for their first match at 1 p.m. following their second at 6 p.m. this Friday.