With competition in the air, the men’s and women’s tennis teams are preparing for what will be their final fall season tournaments. The men will compete Nov.
4-6 at the Murray State Invitational in Aurora, Ky., and the women travel today to play in the Southern Mississippi Tournament in Hattiesburg, Miss., through Sunday.
“We’re very prepared to go out and compete,” women’s Head Coach Kara Amundson said. “Southern Mississippi’s competition format is different. It makes it to where we have to compete together more as a team, which the girls are prepared to do.”
Since their last competition at the Red Wolves Classic in Jonesboro, Ark., the girls have shown a strong singles team in store for Southern Mississippi. In Jonesboro, the team placed second, fourth and fifth places singles titles.
“Our singles team has done really well,” Amundson said. “We have six very capable individuals that have been competing like we want them to, so I think that’s a huge strength we’re going to ride on in this competition.”
Though the singles team is solid this season, Amundson said she wants the girls to work on their starts.
“We need to polish that first serve and first return of serve,” Amundson said. “We’re really going to crack down on it.”
A doubles duo to look for is the team of freshman Jordana Klein and senior Ashley Canty. Together, they placed third in their doubles matches at the Red Wolves Classic- something Canty said could be replicated at Southern Mississippi.
“We’ve been working together really well with doubles and learning how each girl plays,” Canty said. “It has really helped us get focused and ready for Southern Mississippi. We have really been holding our own.”
The team is confident going into Southern Mississippi, Canty said.
“We work together incredibly well,” she said. “We do a good job and hauling our own weight and showing up when it’s needed.”
The men’s team is currently cracking down in preparation for the Murray State Invitational.
“It’s a fun tournament,” Head Coach Mel Purcell said. “This will be the third year we’ve hosted it. The point is to get a lot of matches in that only count as one playing date. It gives the guys practice and more experience for competition ahead.”
The men returned from the Ohio Valley Regional Championship this weekend with a single doubles win by junior Joao Camara and sophomore Arthur Valle against Dayton with a final score of 8-5.
Purcell said he wants to work more on the doubles teams before going into the invitational.
“We need to find out who plays well together and get some good pairs,” he said. “Camara and Valle are a good doubles team we have this season but we’re planning on making more.”
Purcell is confident the team will do well because they will have a home-court advantage, he said.
“It adds to the confidence being able to only play 15 minutes from home,” he said.
With the intensity setting in, Purcell said the Racers will have skill, teamwork and confidence on their side to determine whether or not they ace the closing of the fall season.