Rankings can be complicated and interesting things. Some players use them as incredible motivation, sometimes they can get in the way of just playing in the moment and being the best you can be. Our team has done such a terrific job of using rankings as validation of their hard work and talent, but also to set new goals. Even better, they understand that the sport is about playing together and if we play our best each day, we'll keep improving and having fun and wins will take care of themselves. So, here is my insider's guide of the validation provided by the recent fall ITA rankings.
|Tree launching a bomb at regionals|
|Court crushing her way to top 5 singles and doubles rankings|
First, team rankings in the west are solely based on last year, as no West teams played dual matches in the fall. Thus, our #16 national ranking and #5 West Ranking affirm the pride in what we did last year, but we know that every year is new and we'll have a lot of work ahead to keep improving. Still, the numbers help us set goals and starting last year at #28 this group knows what it feels like to look ahead and move forward.
In singles, our players only played the Fall USTA/ITA tournament and in Texas some teams played a second tournament, so the West rankings are almost completely from one weekend of play in three separate regional and then the small college nationals. I LOVE THIS. It is so easy in tennis to fall into pecking orders. Whether it is one team that has had success against another or someone in the lineup has been in one spot so they identify with it. This is something we strive always to avoid. We are a team and each player is working to improve to help the team. Ideally, we can beat each other on any given day, keeping us sharp and hungry. Playing a singles tournament provides the opportunity to showcase how hard each player works and how that work builds.
For Courtney to be #3 having dominated the regional and battling another experienced national level player at nationals shows that she is not going away, but rather she is hungry to build her game and at regionals especially, she did things she has worked hard on and I'm sure in the Spring, she'll be using her new weapons better and better at the national level.
With Morgan focusing on doubles as she rehabs her back, we had several players make a mark in singles, led by Katrina! To have Tree ranked #21 in the West says volumes about her and our team. Tree is a player who we all knew had a huge upside and while making a huge contribution in the doubles lineup last year, she was so patient using her practice and singles opportunities to mature and develop her game. She was excited about her upsets of the #7 and and #10 seeds, but is probably more motivated by knowing that she is close to another breakthrough as she battled the #2 seed quite well. Tree has announced she is a force and I couldn't be happier for what she's done or more excited to see what she continues to do.
|Hello #12 ranked doubles team; you look so nice but hit so hard!|
|Effort and Attitude - Morgan leads the way|
So, be proud of our ranked Whitties, but know that they are playing for each other and the successes of Erin, Katrina, Morgan and Courtney are not only validations of their talent, but the love and hard work the whole team shares to push each other each day.