After disposing of South Carolina last weekend, the Michigan
women’s tennis team has been focusing on its next match
against Tennessee on Saturday.

In the past week’s practices, the Wolverines have worked
on individual improvements, drills and playing out points.

Tennessee is coming off two losses last weekend against North
Carolina and Wake Forest. The Volunteers look to end their losing
streak when they take on No. 25 Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Even though the Wolverines have had a solid week of practice,
Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt is still apprehensive about this
weekend’s match-up. Tennessee is 4-0 against Big Ten teams
this season.

“They have the ability and willingness to play the long
point at all of their positions,” Ritt said. “They
traditionally have a lot of heart and fight … They have very
smart players that can all go to plan ‘B’ if things
aren’t working and hit a heavy ball with a lot of spin,
making you earn the point.”

After practice on Tuesday, Ritt explained to her team that it
must be patient against Tennessee because the Volunteers make few
unforced errors and are well-coached in doubles.

Preparing for Tennessee has also proved difficult because the
Volunteers’ lineup is not yet set due to various
injuries.

“We are very healthy right now, except for a few nagging
injuries that some individuals are dealing with,” said Ritt,
commenting on her own team’s physical health.

Ritt has been very happy with her team this year, mentioning
that she has confidence in each player.

“The senior leadership has been excellent,” Ritt
said. “It’s stronger than it has been in the past, and
it makes a big difference to the team. They recognize their
responsibility, and they have been stepping up.”

Freshman phenom Elizabeth Exon has been a valuable addition to
the team. Ranked No. 37 in the country and No. 6 in the Midwest by
the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, Exon currently plays No. 2
singles.

Michigan’s biggest win of the season was a 4-3 victory
against Notre Dame in late January in Ann Arbor. But Ritt was quick
to point out that the most important match is always the next one
on the schedule.

“Big wins are meaningless unless you continue to improve
and do what you did in the past to win,” Ritt said.

The team heads to Hawaii for Spring Break to compete against
Hawaii and Long Beach State, but the Wolverines are concentrating
on beating Tennessee before making the trip.

“We’re not going to Hawaii until we beat
Tennessee,” Ritt said.

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