Teams from all over the country are hitting the courts at
Nielsen Tennis Stadium Thursday for the 21st annual ITA National Women?s Team
Indoor Championship. The prestigious tournament includes many of the top-ranked
teams in the nation, including defending national champion Georgia Tech, who
the Badgers will face first in the tournament.
While Georgia Tech comes into Thursday’s match as the
reigning national champ, Wisconsin head coach Brian Fleishman is still excited
for the opportunity to face a highly ranked team.
?Although we are playing the defending national champions
the first round, our goal is still the same,? Fleishman said. ?Our goal is to
battle and compete. If we do this, everything else will take care of itself. If
you?re going to play perhaps the best team in the country, the defending
national champions, why not get them the first round??
Even after winning it all a year ago, the Yellow Jackets are
not the No. 1 team in the country, as they are ranked closely behind Stanford.
Fleishman, however, still views them as one of the top teams.
?We are looking at them as being the No. 1 team, and we are going
to go into the match that way, knowing that anything can happen,? Fleishman
Although thoughts of beating GT in the first round are nice,
Fleishman has other goals in mind as well.
?Just to compete is our main goal. We don?t want any teams
to get off easy,? Fleishman said. ?We want them to work for everything they
get. Are we expecting a win? Well, we aren?t expecting a loss, either.?
Georgia Tech is coming off of a 6-1 loss to Northwestern
over the weekend, which snapped a 23-match win streak.
?I told the girls [the Yellow Jackets] are either going to
be [upset] about their loss, or they are going to be very vulnerable, and we
have just got to expect them to come in and try to prove that they are
defending national champions,? Fleishman said. ?But this is our home court. We
have been practicing here every day, and now we are just hoping that Georgia
Tech will get snowed in and will not be able to make it over here to practice
at our place.?
Senior Chelsea Nusslock has high hopes for the team as well.
?I just look forward to seeing how we will do against the
top teams,? Nusslock said. ?This year is a whole new year with all new
coaching. Everyone has improved a lot and it will be really exciting to see how
we do. Now it?s up to us to prove to ourselves that we are capable, with the
ultimate goal still, obviously, being to win.?
Nusslock sees the stiff competition the Badgers will face in
the first round as a good thing.
?With Georgia Tech coming off of a loss, we are hoping their
confidence is a little down,? Nusslock said. ?With that being said, we have to
play well right away, then we could have a shot to win.?
Fleishman and the Badgers are ready for the challenge this
weekend, despite the competition being higher than what the team is used to.
?This is the competition that we want to face on a daily
basis,? Fleishman said. ?Are we ready for this right now? Maybe not, but I
think a year or two down the road, we certainly need to be competing at this
level all of the time. ? This opportunity will be great to see how we compare
to these other teams thus far.?