The CSU women’s tennis team upended Big 12 foe Texas Tech last weekend setting the pace for the rest of the spring season while improving its record to 1-2. Despite early deficits and competition, the Rams came back in a number of matches and surprised the Red Raiders.
“The girls really pulled together as a team and never lost focus,” said head coach Jon Messick.
Notable performances from junior Dasha Zhurin and freshman Emily Kirchem included impressive come-from-behind wins to help the Rams take three of six singles matches. Zhurin came back from a 5-1 deficit and rallied back to win her No. 1 singles match 7-5, while undefeated freshman Charity Malone came back from 5-2 to upset her opponent 7-5.
“Dasha, Charity and Emily have been playing great this season, they’ve been focused and are looking strong at their positions,” Messick said.
The team began the spring season with back-to-back loses against Nebraska and Chicago-Illinois, however with time off the Rams have made some adjustments and most importantly regained their focus.
“We were very disappointed with how we played in the season opener,” Messick said. “This week the girls knew they needed to put forth a stronger effort and come back with a victory.”
With their swagger back, the Rams look to come out of this weekend with a win streak of four in a row and a record above .500. The Rams head to Boise, Idaho, where they play three teams in three days starting with Montana State on Friday, followed by Boise State on Saturday and a showdown against UC-Santa Barbara on Sunday.
“I think our team will be able to come out of this weekend with three wins,” Messick said. “Boise State has a strong tennis program that is ranked nationally and UC-Santa Barbara has a talented team as well, both teams will be tests, but we’ll be ready for them.”
To meet their goals the Rams will need better production from their Nos. 3, 5 and 6 singles positions, which have not been able to find any consistency this spring. Coach Messick has considered making lineup adjustments, however he hopes the team will rise up to the challenges that lie ahead. As for doubles competition, the problems continue. The pairing of Kirchem and Malone is the only to tally a victory for CSU this season.
“We still have some weak spots and will continue to work on our doubles play,” Messick said. “Last week we met with each player individually to reevaluate and refocus, it paid off against Texas Tech and were hoping it will continue throughout the rest of the season.”