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Women’s tennis starts spring season with the IU Winter Invitational this weekend


Then-sophomore Madison Appel, now a junior, serves the ball during a women's tennis doubles match against West Virginia in March 2017. Adelina Jusuf Buy Photos

The IU women’s tennis team opens up its spring season in Bloomington with the IU Winter Invitational this weekend. 

The tournament will go on for three days beginning on Saturday and ending on Monday. 

It has been two months since IU’s last competition at the Western Michigan Invitational on Nov. 4, 2017 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

After competing in the WMU Invite, the team was not allowed to have team practices over the break due to NCAA rules, since the team was not on campus for classes. 

Prior to this upcoming weekend, IU Coach Ramiro Azcui and his team have been only practicing for about a week and a half. 

“All we are trying to do is make sure that we get into a competitive mode,” Azcui said.

The Hoosiers only graduated three of its nine players from last season, and have added four newcomers for the upcoming season. 

Andjelija Bozovic, Michelle McKamey and Olga Zavarotnaya are the three freshmen. Xiwei Cai is a transfer senior from Southern Illinois Carbondale, whose tennis program closed after last season. Cai will serve as the only senior on the team.

The four newcomers have all competed during the fall tournaments.

McKamey's best moment came when she took down the No. 3 and No. 2 seeds in her flight at the Roberta Alison Fall Classic in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, during her first fall campaign.

Despite the loss of its three accomplished seniors, Azcui said he believes his team’s biggest strength is how deep they are going to be this year. With 27 matches slated this spring, IU will have to rely on its depth.

That remainder of the depth comes from the six returning Hoosiers, which includes IU's No. 1 singles and doubles player from last year — junior Madison Appel.

In last year’s IU Winter Invitational, Appel defeated Abilene Christian’s Lucile Pothier, 6-2, 7-5, and lost to Colorado’s Nuria Ormeno Ruiz, 4-6, 6-4, 0-1 (6-10).

More good performances from last year's event included sophomore Pauline Jahren. Jahren took down Jordan Henry of Abilene Christian, 7-6, 6-4, and Llana Oleynik of Colorado, 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-4), to go 2-0 in the singles play. 

Junior Natalie Whalen also got a win last year, beating Abilene Christian’s Sarah Adams, 6-0, 6-3.

Other teams participating in this weekend’s tournament are Wright State, Marquette, DePaul, Abilene Christian, Colorado and two players from Mississippi State. Colorado, Marquette, and Abilene Christian competed in last year’s IU Winter Invitational.

On Saturday, first serve will be at 11:00 a.m., Sunday at 9 a.m. and Monday at 9 a.m. at the IU Tennis Center.

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