On its Friday night match against University of Kentucky, the IU women’s tennis team expects a similar opponent to the one it faced last Saturday.
“Kentucky on Friday is going to be another team like Alabama,” assistant coach Ryan Miller said Tuesday. “I don’t know what they’re ranked now, but they’ll end the season in the top 30 or 40. They’ll be an NCAA Tournament team.”
Miller also said Kentucky’s big hitting and powerful style of play makes the Wildcats a tough matchup indoors. The match is at 6 p.m. and will be the first home dual match of 2020 for the women's team.
Last weekend, IU lost its first match of the season against Alabama 4-0, but junior Michelle McKamey said the lopsided score doesn’t tell the whole story.
“While you can look at it and say it didn’t look that great from a paper standpoint, I think we felt pretty good about how we competed,” McKamey said. “We were up in the three matches that were left. We were right there with the doubles point, and it could’ve easily gone the other way.”
After its loss to Alabama on Saturday, IU had a bounce-back win later that day against University of Alabama at Birmingham. Now at 1-1, three home matches await this week against Kentucky, Xavier University and Western Michigan University. The Xavier and Western Michigan matches will be played at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. respectively Sunday.
Beginning the season on the road was unfamiliar for an IU team that has usually started off with home dual matches, McKamey said. But, the team is excited to have played a few matches before the Wildcats, who beat the Hoosiers 7-0 last year, come to town.
“It’s hard starting on the road,” McKamey said. “I think it’s kind of cool though having some matches under our belt with Kentucky coming here. It was good to get back into competition and we’re all excited to now play here.”
Miller said he feels that the early road matches will pay dividends in the long run for IU, especially for its younger players.
“Every match in the Big Ten is tough and every road match is tough,” Miller said. “Giving the younger players the opportunity to experience that right off the bat is going to be immeasurable down the road.”
Kentucky enters this week at 5-2, coming off two close matches with the University of Southern California and the University of Washington. Xavier and Western Michigan hold 1-2 records on their way to Bloomington.
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