After 20 meets, the time has finally come for the Big East championship for women’s tennis! The University of Connecticut team has been waiting for this moment for some time, and it has momentum to build off of, as it took its last meet against the University of Rhode Island with a score of 5-2. Despite having ups and downs, it finally made it to tournament season.
This season has been an admittedly mediocre one for the Huskies, as they went 9-11 the whole way through. There were some real bright spots: for example, they had a five-meet win streak from Feb. 27 to March 16, where they defeated Seton Hall, Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac at home. Afterwords they took their show on the road defeating Florida Southern and Bethune-Cookman. While that was an impressive stretch, they followed that up with a really rough 2-8 record the rest of the way, which included a five-meet losing streak immediately after their aforementioned winning streak. Regardless, there’s still some hope left in this team: No. 1 singles Julieanne Bou was sidelined for a large part of those last 10 meets, but should be ready to go come tournament time.
Speaking of which, UConn’s first opponent on the path to a Big East title is Villanova, whose women’s tennis team comes in at a 4-9 record overall and a 2-2 Big East record, displaying many of the same struggles that the Huskies have experienced. It started its year really slow, losing each of its first five meets, and have since only managed a .500 record, going 4-4. However, the last time these two teams faced off, it resulted in a 4-3 Villanova victory on its home turf. Though UConn cleaned house in doubles, securing the lone point there, it struggled when it came to singles. Bou had a bad day (went 0-6, 1-6), as did No. 4 singles Caroline Cook (4-6, 2-6), while No. 3 singles Leonie Hoppe (5-7, 6-2, 2-6) and No. 6 singles Doga Selen Takunyaci (4-6, 6-3, 4-6) had close matches that just didn’t go their way. Familiarity and extra rest for the Huskies should change the complexion of this matchup drastically from last time, where they seemed overmatched.
The UConn Huskies have fought hard to get to this point, and they managed to draw an opponent they have a good shot of winning against. What’s most important is that they come out swinging on Thursday at 9 a.m., when they will take on the Wildcats in Cayce, South Carolina. Just like they did in doubles the last time these two teams met, the Huskies should be ready to strike when the iron is hot and never let up. They are looking to do just that and advance to the next round of the Big East tournament.