Badgers head east for a pair of matches
MADISON, Wis. – After opening up the Big Ten season at home over the weekend, the No. 72 Wisconsin women’s tennis team (7-3, 0-1 Big Ten) is back on the road to wrap up the road portion of its non-conference season. UW is scheduled to play at Old Dominion on Saturday, Mar. 10, before facing No. 62 William & Mary on Sunday, Mar. 11. The Badgers take the court against the Old Dominion Monarchs at 9 a.m. CT in Norfolk, Va., while the matchup against William & Mary is set for 10 a.m. CT in Williamsburg, Va.
vs. Old Dominion
The Badgers hold a slight advantage in all-time meetings with the Monarchs, leading the series 2-1. UW kicked off its season last year at Old Dominion, earning a 6-1 victory. In the teams’ three meetings, Wisconsin has outscored the Monarchs, 13-8.
vs. William & Mary
Heading into this Sunday’s matchup, Wisconsin is looking for its first ever win over William & Mary. UW trails the all-time series, 4-0. The Badgers came close to capturing their first win over the Tribe last season but in the end were edged, 4-3.
Scouting the opponents
Old Dominion enters Saturday’s match riding a four-match win-streak and sporting a 9-2 overall record. The Monarchs recorded back-to-back 5-2 victories over Hampton University and Towson, respectively. Four of Old Dominion’s wins this season have come by the slimmest of margins, winning 4-3. The Monarchs’ two defeats this season have come at the hands of VCU on Feb. 11 and Georgetown on Feb. 18.
The No. 62 William & Mary women’s tennis team is off to a 3-8 start this season. Despite the losing record all but one of the Tribe’s eight losses have been to ranked opponents, including, five ranked in the Top 30. Meanwhile, all three of William & Mary’s wins have come against unranked opponents. Like UW, the Tribe also dropped a 5-2 decision to Minnesota. The Gophers were not ranked when they faced William & Mary, while Wisconsin faced a Gophers squad that was ranked No. 31. In its last win, the Tribe defeated Wake Forest on Mar. 3.
Last time out
On Mar. 4, Wisconsin suffered a Big Ten opening day defeat to then-No. 31Minnesota. The Badgers were bested 5-2 on their home court.
Despite earning the doubles point, UW’s lone singles victory from senior Alaina Trgovich at the No. 3 spot was not enough to upend the Gophers in the conference opener.
For the first time this season, UW lost the match after recording the doubles point. Wisconsin's doubles victories came from courts one and three.
At court one, junior Hannah Berner and Alaina Trgovich recorded an 8-5 victory over Alexa Palen and Yuliana Umanets.
Over on court three, sophomore Nicky Stracar and freshman Nova Patel registered an 8-1 win over Tereza Brichacova and Julia Courter.
The senior duo of Angela Chupa and Aleksandra Markovic suffered Wisconsin's only doubles loss, falling 8-4 to Natallia Pintusava and Magdalena Wiecha.
Although the Badgers had their chances, Trgovich represented Wisconsin's lone singles victory of the match. She controlled the tempo on court three, handing Umanets a 6-3, 6-0 loss.
The Badgers are 8-1 in matches where they have won the doubles point. UW suffered its first defeat after recording the doubles point in Sunday’s meeting with Minnesota. Wisconsin posts a 22-8 record in doubles play this season.
In the rankings
The Badgers check in at No. 72 in this week’s ITA Rankings. UW dropped 11 spots from last week’s appearance at No. 61 after the loss to then-No. 31Minnesota.
This is the third week Wisconsin has been recognized in the 75-team poll. Before last week’s ranking of No. 61, UW was ranked 70th during the week of Feb. 16.
Last season UW reached as high as No. 54 in the polls during the week of Mar. 8.
Sophomore Nicky Stracar is No. 13 in the Midwest Region, according to the ITA. The Badger sophomore is one of 20 singles players recognized in the region.
UW’s biggest victory to date came on Feb. 12 when the team handed then-No. 37 NC State a decisive 6-1 loss in Madison. The win marked Wisconsin's first win over the Wolfpack under head coach Brian Fleishman. Last season, Wisconsin was blanked, 7-0, at NC State.
Wisconsin recorded the doubles point with wins from the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.
Freshman Nova Patel and sophomore Nicky Stracar picked the most opportune time to record their first doubles win of the season at No. 2. They clinched the doubles point with an 8-6 victory over the Wolfpack's Tatiana Illova and Nicole Martinez. At No. 3, seniors Angela Chupa and Aleksandra added another doubles win.
Stracar, Trgovich, Sarah Loebel, Patel and Markovic fueled the Badger victory with wins at courts two through six, respectively.
Winning on the road
Wisconsin is 2-1 on the road this season, earning wins at BYU and Marquette, while falling at then-No. 42 Utah.
In their first road test of the season, the Badgers captured their first win over the BYU Cougars since the 2002 season with a 4-3 victory in Provo, Utah on Feb. 18.
The Badgers earned the essential doubles point with wins at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.
With just two singles matches remaining, the Cougars led 3-2, but Wisconsin was able to pick up two big wins at the No. 5 and No. 6 spots to escape Provo with the win.
Aleksandra Markovic registered a singles victory for UW at No. 6 to even the match at 3-3 by defeating Lisa Waldron in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0.
The win left Nova Patel as the last Badger on the court. She rallied from a tiebreak loss in the first set to clinch Wisconsin's victory with a 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4 win over Aubrey Paul at the No. 5 spot.
UW also earned a 4-3 victory at Marquette on Feb. 26, capturing its 12th-straight win over the Golden Eagles. The win snapped Marquette’s four-match win-streak.
In the win, the Badgers clinched the doubles point with victories from Hannah Berner and Alaina Trgovich and Angela Chupa and Aleksandra Markovich, at courts one and two, respectively.
Singles victories at courts three, four and six led the Badgers to victory. Trgovich, Sarah Loebel and Caroline Bauer recorded wins in the match.
Leader in Gruber
Senior Lauren Gruber was named captain of the 2011-12 Badger squad. After playing her rookie season at Delaware, Gruber began her career at Wisconsin in 2009. Since coming to UW, the senior has compiled a singles record of 22-14, while posting an 11-14 doubles mark. Last season, Gruber was named the Team's Strength and Conditioning Lifter of the Year.
Gruber looks forward to leading Wisconsin this season.
"I think that this fall we ended the season on a great note with strong performances by everyone that played in the Michigan State Invite," she said. "The biggest thing that we can take away from the fall season is how hard we have worked building our strength and endurance and how this will carry over into a long spring season. Our aim in this training is to still see our best results at the end of the season."