The Michigan women’s tennis team hopes to bounce back from
its first loss of the season — suffered against No. 37
Alabama this weekend — as it plays Western Michigan tomorrow
and then Marquette on Saturday.

“Alabama is the best team we’ve played on the road
so far and there is somewhat of an advantage to playing at
home,” coach Bitsy Ritt said. “So we know that
we’re right there and we’ll just bounce back Wednesday
against Western Michigan.”

The Wolverines hope to use the next few games as a
stepping-stone in preparation for their first Big Ten match with
in-state rival Michigan State on March 23, but they know these next
few games are important.

“Western Michigan is a very competitive program,”
Ritt said. “They always do well in the match. They have a
very competitive schedule. They play a lot of Big Ten teams.
It’s an opportunity to play a quality team at home and
Marquette’s a chance, again, to fine tune going into the Big
Ten season.”

Michigan plays Western Michigan every year and the Wolverines
know that the Broncos are tough competition.

“There’s tradition there,” Ritt said.
“We know their players very well. We know that Western
Michigan is ready to play us. They’re well-coached and their
players compete hard.”

Ritt is confident in Michigan’s ability to come out on
top, especially considering the contributions of the new additions
to the team this year — assistant coach Katy Propstra and
freshman Elizabeth Exon.

Propstra played at Arizona State from 1995 to 1999. She came to
Michigan this season after a two-year tenure as assistant coach for
the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Northern Arizona
University.

“Katy’s done a great job,” Ritt said.
“She’s been well-received by the players. She’s
very perceptive and very analytical and she communicates
well.”

Exon, out of Irvine, Calif., has made a great start to her
college career. She’s gone 16–8 overall and has a
winning percentage of 0.667, good enough for a No. 67 ranking.

“She had a great fall and had some really big wins,”
Ritt said. “She’s doing well in the dual season. I
think she’s making the adjustment well. She’s a very
competitive player. She’s very tough mentally and has had a
lot of success in juniors, so she’s a very confident player
and is working hard to make her contribution.”

Coming off the loss, Michigan is excited to get back in
action.

“We are psyched and we’re ready to get this win at
home,” Ritt said.

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