Alabama no. 1 seed at Blue GrayBy Terrin Waack | 02/17/2015 11:29pm
The women's tennis team is the number one seed for the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Montgomery this weekend. CW | Pete Pajor
With the first blemish on its record, now 5-1 overall, the women’s tennis team’s main goal is to keep getting better day after day.
After going 2-1 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, Alabama had over a week off to prepare for the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Montgomery this upcoming weekend. Alabama is the number one seed going into the tournament.
“The objective for Blue Gray is to just go in with a lot of confidence, to really try to get some quality matches in, and to play well and get ready for the SEC league play that starts the next week,” coach Jenny Mainz said.
To Mainz, Blue Gray is one of the best – if not the best – collegiate tennis tournaments out there. The team is also excited that the men’s tennis team will be making the trip with them to Montgomery.
One thing the team has been focusing on in the practices leading up to the tournament is its doubles combinations. Who will play in the doubles matches is still up in the air, Mainz said. She knows they have a solid pair in junior Maya Jansen and sophomore Erin Routliffe, but she has to be sure they have three solid teams to play.
“The other thing is, we’re just trying to play more disciplined tennis,” Mainz said. “Kind of build the points a little bit better with more respect, and be patient in setting up our points and wait for the right opportunities instead of rushing it and forcing it.”
The discipline will become a key factor at Blue Gray also because this will be the first time the team plays its matches outdoors. The outdoor elements will make a large impact on how the team plays. Games outdoors are normally slower. The players will have to adjust their footwork and movement, their serve tosses and make adjustments to each shot they hit, Mainz said.
“I think the biggest thing – something we’ve talked about, kind of the theme for the whole season – is just taking it one match at a time,” senior Emily Zabor said. “Obviously, we would like to win the tournament and want to win the tournament, but I think as soon as we find out just who that first opponent is it’s just wanting to beat them and focusing on them.”
The team doesn’t talk much about the actual win. It focuses on getting better throughout the season and fixing things along the way. Mainz likes to have the players focus on the things they can control: their energy, attitude, effort and shot selection.
“Technically, it doesn’t matter who we play,” sophomore Danielle Spielmann said. “We always try to play on our terms anyways.”