The CSU tennis team has headed south for the Air Force Invitational that begins today.
The Rams are joining 11 other teams to compete in the tournament in Colorado Springs.
This is the biggest tournament of the fall season other than the regional that will be held in Las Vegas on Oct. 13-17, said Rams coach John Messick.
Unfortunately for the Rams, they have been hampered by injuries this fall and will be without senior Melissa Holzinger and freshman Kaley Schultz this weekend.
There will only be five players representing CSU this weekend.
The injuries have hurt the team, but everyone is working hard to get healthy and back into action, said junior Veronika Wojakowska.
The invitational will include schools from around the country such as Air Force, University of Arizona, CU-Boulder, Eastern Michigan and University of North Carolina-Greensboro, among others.
CSU is excited to compete against teams that it doesnâ€™t see very often, such as opponents from the Pacific 10 Conference, as well as the squads from the East, said senior Caitlin Fluegge.
Fluegge will be competing in the top flight this weekend, switching spots with Tori Arneson, who will be in the second flight, Messick said.
â€œI have never had this opportunity, and Iâ€™ve never been more excited for a tournament in my life,â€ Fluegge said.
It will be a great opportunity to play against some of the top players in the tournament, she said.
Part of the fall season has focused on finding out which players fit best in which spots in the line-up, and this week, Messick has decided to give Fluegge the opportunity to compete in the first flight.
The Rams are also working to address any problems that they may have in their game, he said. The fall is a good time to address individual weaknesses.
Wojakowska is working on being smarter and more patient with her play instead of going for the big shot, she said.
The team has played well this fall and has continued to improve from tournament to tournament, and they expect more of the same this weekend despite the injuries, Messick said.
â€œWe have the ability to beat good teams; we just have to believe that we can do it. I feel that this is going to be a good year,â€ Fluegge said.
Sports reporter Nick Childs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.