Marquette Women’s Tennis: Seeking improvement for weekend tournament

Ana Pimienta sees a lot of potential in doubles, but knows the team must be patient and have plenty of practice to get all the gears turning. Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.

Last weekend’s tournament in Florida didn’t go exactly as the Marquette women’s tennis team anticipated, and the team won’t have too much time to correct every area of improvement before another tournament this weekend.

After a so-so outing at the Knights Invitational in Orlando, Fla., the Golden Eagles needed to hit the drawing board rather quickly for its third tournament of the fall in East Lansing, Mich., which starts Friday.

Coach Jody Bronson is taking the week to improve the team’s doubles play since the Golden Eagles could put together just four wins out of 11 doubles matches.

“We just feel like we really need to focus on getting them to understand how to play the points and where they should be hitting their shots,” Bronson said. “We just don’t feel like there’s a good enough understanding yet, so we really want to focus on that.”

Sophomore Ana Pimienta sees a lot of potential in doubles, but they will require patience and plenty of practice to get all the gears turning.

“We just have to polish all those little things that’ll make us succeed over the season,” she said. “This week we definitely have to work on what we missed.”

Other notable teams participating in the Spartan Invitational are Purdue, Wisconsin, Xavier, Dayton, Akron and Ball State, among others. Bronson said the team’s strategy doesn’t vary much from tournament to tournament and it will approach each team the same this weekend.

“I think we try to take the same mentality for each one, whether you’re playing against really strong teams or whether you’re playing against teams that aren’t as strong,” Bronson said. “You still want them to be aggressive and dictate the match. Sometimes it’s easier to do that against stronger players than weaker players.”

However, that doesn’t mean these matches should be dismissed as simply practice. Bronson will take the opportunity this weekend to see which players can handle tougher opponents, and she will take that into consideration once spring play starts.

Junior Rocio Diaz sees fall tournaments as a solid developmental opportunity individually. One aspect of her game that she would like to improve before this weekend is her aggressiveness.

“In Florida, I noticed I should have been more aggressive and going more to the net,” Diaz said. “I didn’t do it in the first match, (but) I did in the second match and finally I found that rhythm during the third match. So I really want to keep on that track and keep attacking the net.

“During the fall, you’re focused more on developing your game and trying to do things you really need to do to succeed in when it’s the season.”

Pimienta hopes she can improve on concentration during matches in the Spartan Invitational, playing well-rounded matches until the last point.

“Since the first point to end of the match, everything’s a mental exercise,” Pimienta said. “It’ll help us succeed. Not only me, but as a team. If I think if I personally work on that it’ll help me overall.”

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