It’s not unusual for the women’s tennis lineup to be in flux at this point in the year; after all, this is still the individual season, something of a preseason to the team competition beginning in January. But, this individual season carries a little bit more weight than last year’s may have.
“Even (during) practice matches, I feel like anybody can beat anybody on any given day,” said sophomore Michelle DaCosta, last year’s No. 2 singles player.
This year’s rendition of the women’s tennis team is certainly one of the deepest in recent memory. That’s not to say this is a team without solid players, rather, this team may have eight. When asked who she expected to step up and carry the team this year, coach Bitsy Ritt was quick to point out that eight of her players are capable of playing any position in the lineup.
“This isn’t a team where we’re going to look at one or two players to carry the team – we’ll look at all eight,” Ritt said.
This only causes one problem: Given eight solid players and only six singles spots in the lineup, two players will have to sit out of singles play. While it’s not the ideal situation, having this stock of talent is a problem Ritt doesn’t mind. Ritt says that results from the individual season will play a large role in setting the lineup come January.
Additionally, there are three doubles teams that have yet to be determined – giving everyone on the squad the possibility of some playing time. When asked, DaCosta was far from concerned.
“We’re working for what’s best for the team,” DaCosta said.
She believes that strong team unity, along with a strong work ethic in practice, are the keys to their season.
This weekend, the Wolverines will be competing in the Omni Hotels Regional Championships hosted by Michigan State. Ritt has made it clear that this is an excellent opportunity for players to establish their positions in the lineup. DaCosta will be joined in the main draw by fellow sophomore Leanne Rutherford, juniors Christine Nolan and Kavitha Tipirneni and senior Jennifer Duprez.