The No. 23 Washington women’s tennis team returns to action this week, traveling across the country to play a pair of matches against Kansas and Kansas State.
The Huskies (7-2) are looking for a pair of wins to help bounce them back into the top 15 of the ITA rankings.
After missing out on the ITA indoor championships, the Huskies had a rare two-week break from competitive matches. The break came at a good time for the team, following a busy start to the season.
“It’s been really nice to have a bit of a break in competition,” head coach Robin Stephenson said. “We’ve been able to really work with the girls individually and spend some time focusing on some things that, when you’re competing, you can’t always do. I think we’ve used these couple weeks really well to make some progress.”
The Huskies will encounter a tough test on Friday when they take on the Wildcats (5-2). Although they lost two of their first three, K-State has found form recently, winning its past four matches. The Wildcats’ most recent victory came against a Pac-12 opponent, beating Arizona 4-3.
Washington, coming off of three straight wins, will look to carry its momentum into the weekend. Despite a long layoff from competitive play, the Dawgs will be confident going into the upcoming matchups.
“Just keeping the intensity up, keeping our mindsets ready to go,” sophomore Zoey Weil said. “We did some purple versus gold set play against each other to stay intense and stay in the competitive mindset.”
The Jayhawks (2-4) will be the opponents for the Huskies on Sunday, rounding out the road trip. On the surface, Kansas has struggled to find form, only winning two of their opening six matches. However, the Jayhawks have already faced three ranked opponents. In losses against No. 20 Tennessee and No. 21 California, Kansas won two and three points respectively, showing that they can compete with the best.
The Huskies will be the favorites in both matches this weekend but will need to remain focused against a pair of tough opponents on the road.
“Having the past five or six matches that we played at home are really going to help us,” Weil said. “Just having the camaraderie and energy between the players, especially away without having the crowd support is going to be really important for us.”
UW will take on K-State on Friday at noon followed by a match Sunday at 10 a.m. against Kansas.
“I think the girls have just been working really hard,'' Stephenson said. “They’ve all taken a lot of ownership of their game and learned a lot from our previous matches. I’m excited to see them put that practice and hard work out there on the courts.”
Reach reporter Luka Kučan at email@example.com. Twitter: @luka_kucan
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