Let the real games begin.
After five nonconference matches to open the season in which it compiled a 3-2 record the Michigan women”s tennis team will finally commence conference play over spring break.
The Wolverines will open up their Big Ten season against Illinois and Northwestern two of the top teams in the Big Ten before going out west to San Diego to face the Toreros.
“This trip is primarily business,” Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt said. “It is pleasure in that it is fun to spend a week improving your game and not have to worry about academics, but it is not your typical spring break for a collage student. We will still play tennis everyday and twice on some days and work on fitness and training.”
The Wolverines will spend the beginning of next week preparing to play San Diego and then will work on conditioning, something Ritt has stressed all season as a way to improve individual play and reduce injury. The Wolverines will also get a chance to play outdoors, something they will have to do during the Big Ten season but in conference play, the conditions won”t be as favorable as the Acadia-like atmosphere of Southern California.
Looking to improve on their stellar play thus far will be freshmen Kim Plaushines and senior Szandra Fuzesi who have compiled a 4-1 record at the No. 2 and 3 doubles spots, respectively, this season.
Last weekend, against top-ranked Tennessee and Kentucky, Michigan”s only point came from doubles. As a result, Plaushines now has 10 doubles wins the most among any member of the team.
Her aggressive mindset allows her to rush the net and force other players to volley with her. This gives her an advantage in doubles play, where many points are won at the net.
“Aggression is really important, especially in doubles,” Plaushines said. “We have to go for our shots and play aggressive in doubles points that is how we will win.”
Aggressive play is something Ritt has been stressing since the two losses earlier this month. When Plaushines combines her aggression with her boundless energy, it makes her one of the fastest-rising players on the team.
“Kim has made a big jump since last fall and improved a lot during the first two weeks of the season,” Ritt said. “Now I think she is making another jump.”