LSU women's tennis will face another group of strong opponents this weekend, competing against Texas, Texas A&M and Rice at the Texas A&M Invitational. They look to build off an exceptional outing at their last tournament, where they completed each of the first two days with only one loss.
LSU kicked off the fall season with resounding play across the board at the TCU Invitational. Though nobody finished the weekend perfect, seniors Paris Corley and Taylor Bridges came pretty close, not dropping a match until the final day of the tournament.
“I felt really proud of myself,” Bridges said regarding her performance. “Although [it was] not a perfect weekend, I’m happy with my effort and attitude and know I did the best I could.”
Freshman Samantha Buyckx also performed well in her first competition as a Tiger, leaving the tournament with an undefeated record in doubles and one loss in singles. Corley gave her teammate credit, stating that she played extremely well in her first competition.
The team overall showed tremendous potential for this season, and Coach Michael Sell credited the team building on each other in practice as one of the main reasons for that.
"The best thing is with the depth and quality of our players is each day in practice. Iron sharpens iron,” Sell said. “Our team is very deep and has many different game styles and strengths to where we can match up well.”
The team not only got to compete for the first time in a while, but they also got to see how their play has transitioned from the offseason to the courts.
“It was nice to see where my game is at and what I need to get back to work on,” Corley said. “The exciting thing about this past week was that we got an opportunity to work on the skills we needed to sharpen.”
And the team is only a third of the way through their competition for the month, so they will have plenty of opportunities to test how they perform against strong competition. This weekend, for example, features one of the best teams in the country, which will certainly be a test for the team.
Texas ranked No. 4 in the country last season and brought in the most recent No. 1 recruiting class, featuring two blue-chip prospects and two more strong competitors. Coach Sell cited them as one of the biggest tests of the entire season.
“Texas is figured to be a top-3 team and one of the best teams to compete for a national title this year,” Sell said. “Our goal is to get as tough of competition as our girls can face, and just to keep against them is a true test.”
The other two team featured at this event aren’t pushovers either, with Sell citing both Rice and Texas A&M as top-25 worthy teams.
With such strong competition being featured at this event, this will surely show where the team is and if they will be able to contend with the best teams in the nation. How will they fare against some of the best talent in the country?