Tennis opens fall season this weekend
Sept. 16, 2011
Arlington, Texas -
By Art Garcia for UTAMavs.com
The men's and women's tennis teams begin in the spring and those are the matches that ultimately count when it comes time to determining conference champions and NCAA playoff berths. Don't think for a second that there's no purpose to the fall.
The UT Arlington men's and women's teams have embarked on busy schedule that will take both teams through November. The men are taking part in eight tournaments, while the women have at least five on their plate.
"It's a lot of tournaments and that's what we need," Mavericks coach Diego Benitez said. "The fall semester is the semester to try to get individual national rankings. We don't compete against another university in a dual match. We just compete representing our institution in an open college tournament.
"So, it's a time to gather to as many points as they can in their individual rankings. We're looking forward to play in many competitions because that what they need in order to get ready for the spring semester."
Both teams are playing in Midland this weekend, though part of the women's squad is headed to an event at the University of Oklahoma. Visits to the University of Texas and Baylor are also on the schedule for both sides, in addition to the Texas ITA Regional Tournament in Fort Worth.
The women have core of the Southland Conference champions returning with four players back, led by seniors Maria Martinez-Romero and Natalie Mayuk. Also returning is senior Nikola Matovicova and sophomore Giada D'ortona.
In addition to the fall allowing players on both sides an opportunity to work on their individual rankings, the time is valuable simply for the competition it provides outside of practice. Benitez has put both teams to work with morning conditioning and tennis in the afternoon, and he feels both teams are about three weeks ahead of schedule.
But there is nothing like getting out on the court with the score being kept.
"It's like a tournament you see on TV," Benitez said of the fall events. "If you win, you go up the draw. If you lose, you're out. It's going to be busy and it's going to be fun. We've been working really hard. I'm excited."