Team aims to land in top 17

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    The difficulty of the home portion of the women’s tennis season should serve as an opportunity to improve the team’s ranking, the head coach said.

    By improving that ranking, the team will improve its chances of playing host for an NCAA regional event.

    “Hopefully, we end up hosting a regional event, meaning we finished in the top 16 or 17 at the end of the season,” head coach Jefferson Hammond said.

    But hosting a regional isn’t the only thing the coach wants for his team.

    “Obviously we want to try to win the conference,” Hammond said. “Both the regular season and tournament title are important.”

    The third-year coach also has the job of rooting for the team’s success and the individual accomplishments of his players.

    “Individual success is important as well,” Hammond said. “Currently we have two players in the top 50 for singles and a top-20 doubles team, so we are trying to do well at the individual level as well.”

    Junior Nina Munch-Soegaard, No. 12 in the country, and senior Macall Harkins, No. 49, are ranked individually. Plus the duo of Harkins and senior Anna Sydorska are the No. 16-ranked doubles team. The pair of Munch-Soegaard and sophomore Maria Babanova is ranked No. 28.

    While the players are striving for both team and individual success, Hammond thinks his players will be more successful the more they encourage one another.

    “More than anything this year we want to play together as a team, so we can pull for each other and support each other to do well,” Hammond said. “If we can do that we will do better in the tournaments, which is probably our biggest goal this year.”

    The No. 21-ranked Horned Frogs began their spring schedule on the road for their first four meets.

    The program split its four events against other schools ranked in the nation’s top 50 by beating then-No. 22 College of William and Mary and No. 20 Florida State University, but falling to then-No. 41University of Virginia and No. 8 Georgia Tech University.

    The first home matches are scheduled for Sunday against No. 26 Auburn University. The team will also face ranked opponents throughout the Mountain West Conference and No. 4 Baylor University at home.