MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Following an idle week, the West Virginia University women’s tennis team returns to the court to take on No. 47 William & Mary on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m., at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center and No. 49 VCU on Sunday, Feb. 17, at 10 a.m., at the Thalhimer Tennis Center.
“We began a pretty tough stretch of matches two weeks ago, when we competed against Syracuse and Buffalo,” says coach Tina Samara. “This week, we are facing the same type of challenge – probably even tougher. We will have to play mistake-free tennis to give ourselves a chance in each of these matches.”
The Mountaineers (1-3) enter the weekend’s matchups with a 0-3 all-time record versus the Tribe (6-2) and a 1-2 ledger against the Rams (7-2). WVU’s lone win against the Rams came during the 1991 campaign.
“We are going to be the underdog this weekend – there is no doubt about that,” Samara says. “I’m hoping that our week off from competition will help us. Hopefully, it allowed us to rededicate ourselves to tennis. We need commitment every single day to keep moving in the right direction.”
In the Mountaineers’ action two weeks ago, senior Emily Mathis
came through with a victory in singles play against Syracuse, while freshman Vivian Tsui
earned a win against Buffalo. Against the Bulls, Mathis added a doubles win with fellow senior Audrey Wooland
Mathis, who sports a team-best 3-1 mark in doubles play, leads the team in combined victories (5) and is tied for the team lead in singles wins (2).
“We know what we are going to get from Emily,” Samara says. “She wills her way to victories, and she gives it everything she has. Hopefully, our girls were able to take note of that. On a team chock-full of young players, she is a good player to learn from.”
Tied with Mathis for the lead in singles wins is freshman Hailey Barrett
. The Lansing, Mich., native came out of the gates strong with two singles wins to start the season.
“Hailey showed some flashes of what kind of player she can be in the first two matches of the season,” Samara said. “In the last two matches, she played against two experienced opponents that have a year of collegiate tennis under their belts. We are hoping that Hailey grows and learns from those types of experiences.”
A full recap of Saturday and Sunday’s dual matches will be available on WVUsports.com after the completion of each competition.