Women's Tennis Opens Fall Season
The University of Sioux Falls women’s tennis team will begin its fall season this weekend, as it travels to Clinton, Iowa, for the 2nd annual Ashford Invitational held at the Blackhawk Tennis Club in Waterloo, Iowa.
The tournament, which will feature seven singles flights and three doubles flight, will be host to several of the best tennis squads in the region, including the University of Saint Francis, Missouri Valley College and St. Joe’s College along with the University of Sioux Falls.
This will be the second consecutive season that USF has opened its fall campaign at the Ashford Invitational.
The Cougars return seven lettermen; senior Caitlin Vance, juniors Julia Iversen, Rachel Hussey and Karlee Sieve, and sophomores Dannika Nash and Morgan DeLange. Also back on the court this year is redshirt junior and Roosevelt product Molly Seigenthaler, who redshirted last season.
While the Cougars struggled to find their groove last year and finished 1-10 overall, there were bright spots. DeLange, a former Watertown standout, completed her rookie season with four wins. In addition, the doubles tandem of Hussey and Iversen posted a record of 5-2 from the no. 2 position.
The Cougars started fall practice on Monday and Hussey was excited to get back on the court with her teammates.
“It’s been fun to get out and hit again and see all the new girls,” she said after Tuesday’s practice. “The focus of our practice has been playing out matches and getting ready for the tournament this weekend.”
Last season USF endured freak injuries, match postponements, and rain-outs, not to mention a winter practice schedule that put them on the court from 10 p.m. to midnight on school nights. With a roster of just six, every student-athlete was also forced to play both singles and doubles in every match.
Hussey is reassured by the Cougars’ new strength in numbers.
“We really had to worry about injuries last year, since we only had six girls on the team,” she said. “We have a lot more depth and flexibility within our team this year, and it will be nice if someone needs a break they can sit and someone else can step in and hit.”
It’s hard to set expectations going into the first weekend of competition, but Hussey thinks that the Cougars should perform well in their fall season-opener.
“I’m really hoping that we place pretty high in the tournament,” she said. “I think that a lot of the girls kept their word by hitting all summer and I’ve already seen a lot of improvement.
“Hopefully we finish in the top half.”
A recap of the action will be available on USFCOUGARS.com following the completion of competition.