Ram tennis to host Pioneers

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Apr 122005
 
Authors: Nate Ramos

The University of Denver is usually associated with hockey and not much attention is given to its tennis team.

But DU's team is No. 46 in the country, and today at 2 p.m. the Rams will get a chance to knock off a ranked team.

"They are a really good, solid team but I definitely think we can compete against them," said CSU junior Jessica Jones. "Beating them is definitely possible."

DU is on a seven-game unbeaten streak. Its most recent game was against No. 56 Colorado, which it beat 6-1. One of the Pioneers' biggest threats is their doubles players Yanick Dullens and Suzana Maksovic. This combination is ranked No. 28 in the nation with a 22-9 overall record.

"They are about the same level as San Diego," said CSU junior Jasmin Singh. "Given our performance Sunday, this game is up for grabs."

But the Rams (12-7) are not to be taken lightly either. They are coming off a weekend where they forced singles competition to go to a third set in several matches. When facing No. 39 UNLV, the Rams forced two singles matches into a third set. Against No. 40 SDSU the Rams forced four matches into a third set. They did so with several injuries.

Over the last few weeks the tennis team has had to fight off injuries. Among the players with injuries are senior Dasha Zhurin (tennis elbow), sophomore Emily Kirchem (pulled right quadriceps), freshman Anne Anderson (tennis elbow), junior Carla Pallares (right wrist) and Jones (pulled back). But with many injuries improving over the week, the Rams look to be at about 90 to 95 percent this weekend, Jones said.

"If everyone is healthy, we got a better chance," Jones said. "Hopefully we will get a few wins out of it."

Being healthy will definitely be a factor, as the Rams have not been at 100 percent for weeks. But with the injuries, several Rams have stepped up to the challenge. Kirchem has beaten players such as Maja Kovacek, who at the time of her loss was ranked No. 64. Another player who has stepped up is Anderson, who was perfect in singles play last weekend.

"I think the play has been going up every match this season," Sing said.

Jones agreed that the team is constantly improving.

"We keep getting better and better playing a national team," Jones said. "Now that we have seen five and six (ranked teams) in a row, we are getting more and more confident."

Confidence is going to be essential for the Rams to win. If they play hard, DU might get nervous enough to make costly errors, Jones said.

But because of DU's high ranking, some players expect the match to go down to the wire.

"DU is one of our rivals and we really want to beat them. I really want to beat them," Singh said. "Because of that we will probably find ourselves in really long matches."

The first serve will take place 2 p.m. at Rolland Moore Park.

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