Nov. 6, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's tennis team will close out the fall portion of its 2008-09 schedule over the weekend as the Green Wave travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to participate in the Purdue Invitational at the Schwartz Tennis Center.
The Green Wave are one of six teams participating in the event, joining host Purdue, Cornell, Louisville, Miami (Ohio) and Michigan State. While the team rankings will not be released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association until the conclusion of the fall season, Michigan State did finish the 2007-08 season ranked 62nd in the ITA's final poll.
"I have a lot of respect for the teams in this tournament," Tulane head coach Terri Sisk said. "They all have established programs and some of them are nationally ranked, so I am definitely looking forward to see how we stack up against programs of this stature. I do know that all five teams are coached well so this will be a great learning process for all the girls."
Fielding a team entirely of true freshmen, the Tulane team will be at a bit of a disadvantage due to overall youth, but also because of some midseason schedule difficulties. The Wave were originally slated to play in the Cougar Fall Classic on Oct. 10 in Houston only to have the event cancelled due to the effects of Hurricane Ike. Then, Tulane was supposed to participate in an ITA Regional event only to have its invitation rescinded due to the team's overall inexperience.
As a result, the Green Wave have played in just one event so far in the fall season and put up a solid showing at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic back on Sept. 26-28 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
In the Alison Classic, Sisk's squad gave Tulane fans a glimpse at the future as the team captured 11 wins in 18 tries. The doubles duo of Jessica Lange and Sharon Siegel won three straight doubles matches en route to the title in the Silver Draw. Lange and Siegel overtook Charlotte's tandem of Candace Cunningham and Kimber Redfern, 8-5. In singles action, Siegel and Caroline Gerber each finished with three wins to lead the Green Wave.
Despite the long layoff, Sisk expects her team to play its best over the weekend and pick up valuable experience as the team continues to prepare for its spring opener on Jan. 18 against North Texas.
"Fall tournaments mean different things to different programs," Sisk said. "I use them for many reasons - finding the right doubles teams, match experience, team cohesiveness, and feeling comfortable on the court in front of your peers are just a few of the reasons. However, the No. 1 reason would be mainly for experience and to be able to discuss with the player after the matches about things we need to improve on without in being in the middle of the spring season and wins and losses are on the line.
"This will be only our second tournament where other teams could be on their fifth or sixth, so we are sort of climbing an uphill battle with that. But we are ready to meet the challenge and we will bring home experience to flow into the spring."
Following the Jan. 18 showdown against the Mean Green at the Goldring Tennis Complex, the Green Wave will take on cross-town foe UNO on Jan. 22 and battle Southern on Jan. 25 back at Goldring.