In its fourth game in five days, the CSU tennis team will take on No. 62 University of Denver today to end the regular season. The match will take place at 1 p.m. and will be held at the tennis courts adjacent to Moby Arena.
“It’s a lot of tennis to play,” head coach Jon Messick said. “Denver always plays us hard and it will be a tough match.”
The Rams have not been successful this season when playing against ranked opponents, going 0-3 on the year. DU will be the lowest ranked team CSU has faced and Messick hopes a win will catapult his team into the national rankings.
“It’s our best chance to be a nationally ranked team,” Messick said. “I think if we can knock them off we can break into the rankings.”
If they hope to beat the in-state rivals, the Rams will have to rely on senior Sanja Hansson. She is playing at the No. 1 spot and is 24-6 this season. Messick thinks her victories work to inspire the rest of the team to step up and play their best tennis.
“I think she’s very important because any time your No. 1 player is doing well it gives everyone else confidence,” Messick said. “She’s a quiet leader and every girl on the team respects her play.”
It will be a test of the players’ character to see if they can keep up a competitive level of play for the tennis marathon they have been playing lately. Messick is worried that the four matches will take their toll on the players mentally as well as physically.
“It will be good to get some rest in before the (Mountain West Conference) Championships,” Messick said. “If you compete so much, you get mentally tired as much as physically.”
DU is coming off a loss to No. 66 Nebraska 4-3 on Sunday. The Pioneers are 12-6 on the season and the loss to the Cornhuskers snapped their three-game winning streak.
The match will be CSU’s last before the MWC Championships begin April 24 in San Diego, Calif., where the Rams have the No. 5 seed and will face Brigham Young in the first round.