After months of matches delayed due to rain, the Texas Wesleyan women’s tennis team played their first big match of the season against Collin County Community College on Friday, said junior Karlee Nguyen.
The team has only competed in two out of their five scheduled matches this spring, which has been hard on the players as they prepare for their NAIA regional tournament in late April, said junior Hannah Isabella Rey.
“It’s (the matches against Collin County) going to be a good practice for us for the semi-finals and the finals matches in regionals,” freshman Caitlin Souvannavong said, “I’m feeling better and more comfortable playing.”
Souvannavong said that although the team has competed in two matches this season, players feel that their match against Collin County was a nice skill level challenge that opened their eyes to what level of playing they will face in the semi-finals and the finals during regionals on April 26 and 27.
With one match left before the women’s team enters the NAIA tournament, tension for the players is high, although they are taking it one game at a time, Nguyen said.
“I feel relived that we’re going to get the amount of play that we need to be prepared for regionals,” Rey said. “I feel very good about our team, and I feel like we can progress. Having these matches will definitely us out, especially matches that aren’t in our region, just getting that experience and that play will help us out a lot.”
Nguyen said playing these first few matches has felt slow to the players, but they know that playing Collin gives them more variety and the chance to learn.
“We’re going to be playing better people,” she said. “Usually all our practice is warming up and hitting with each other. We haven’t gotten that much variety since our season got rained out, so we don’t get to see how other people play. Matches like this help us adjust easier moving forward.”
Aside from the competition aspect, this match was especially beneficial and hit home for Rey because, she said, she was competing against her previous school.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Rey said. “I was super anxious driving up. This is where I grew up for two years, and this is where I cultivated my whole college career. This is my base, this was my family for a bit, so coming back is always a treat.”
The Lady Rams play Texas Permian Basin on April 20 at the Arlington Tennis Center. For more information, go to ramsports.net.
Hannah Isabella Rey (left) and Caitlin Souvannavong compete in doubles during Friday’s match against Collin County Community College.
All photos by LaTerra Wair