For the first time since 2008, the women’s tennis team is the regular season Mountain West Conference Champion. It is the third time in seven years the team has earned the title.
The regular season crown gives the 38th-ranked Horned Frogs a first round bye in the championship this weekend.
“Having a first round bye and starting off in the semifinals is a big advantage,” senior Gaby Mastromarino said. “Playing two matches instead of three is huge advantage physically and mentally.”
The team is coming off a two week break since its last match against Rice on April 15 where the Frogs defeated the Owls 4-3 at Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center.
“The break helps our team more than it hurts us,” head coach Dave Borelli said. “We have been working on the little things and trying to work on our strengths individually.”
Action in doubles play has been successful for TCU with No. 72 Millie Nichols and Olivia Smith leading the way. The duo has won four straight matches heading into the tournament.
TCU will not play its first match until Saturday because of the first round bye. The Lady Frogs will not know their opponent until Thursday afternoon. The winner of the quarterfinal between No. 4 seed Wyoming and No. 5 seed Air Force would meet TCU in the second round.
“Wyoming is the stronger opponent on paper, but they would be a ranked team and that is something we prefer. If we can beat them it would help our national ranking,” Borelli said. “We always want the challenge to gain more out of our matches.”
The Lady Frogs enter the tournament with a 16-4 overall record and 7-0 in conference play.
TCU has won nine matches in a row and hope to use the momentum for two more wins this weekend. The Lady Frogs have not lost a match since March 21 when the team fell 5-2 on the road at Florida State.
“It is hard to carry an undefeated conference record into the tournament, because we know everyone is going to want to beat us,” Mastromarino said.
The conference tournament has major implications for the NCAA Tournament, which is coming up in May in Athens, Ga.
“If we can win the rest of our matches we would have a good chance of being a second seed at the NCAA Tournament later this year. If we stub our toe this weekend we would probably end up a 3 seed and have harder matches,” Borelli said.
TCU vs. Air Force/Wyoming
When: TBA, Saturday
Where: San Diego, Calif.