For the UW women’s tennis team, a loss to the best team in the nation ? Northwestern ? actually proved to be beneficial. Despite losing to the Wildcats, the Badgers took that hard-learned lesson and brought that knowledge and passion to their next opponent, Harvard.
The Badgers (5-7) refused to be denied against the Crimson, as they fought through a tough game and beat Harvard 4-3 to capture their fifth win of the season.
?It was a great opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the country, and we played really, really well,? UW head coach Brian Fleishman said. ?It definitely prepared us for that match [against Harvard], and that got us over the hump, and we pulled out that 4-3 match win.?
The Badgers hope to apply the same intensity when they host Michigan and Miami of Ohio this weekend at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
Michigan is one of many ranked opponents that the Badgers will face this season. As of now, the Wolverines are ranked 29th in the country. Although the Badgers are winless against Big Ten teams this season (0-2), they hope that their time has finally come to turn things around.
?It is another good opportunity for us to play a ranked team and to try to get better during the match,? Fleishman said. ?We?re paying our dues and hopefully [a win] will happen for us this Friday.?
For freshman Jessica Seyferth, an Ann Arbor native, this match offers perhaps an even greater incentive. As both friends and family come to watch, Seyferth hopes to show that her new home is the better team.
?We?re playing Michigan this weekend,? Seyferth said. ?And I?m from Michigan, so I really want to win.?
Seyferth?s extra enthusiasm is reinforced by her doubles partner, Elizabeth Carpenter. Together this duo leads the team with four doubles victories.
In singles play, senior Chelsea Nusslock looks to continue her team-leading six singles victories and set the tempo for the rest of the team in the No. 5 position.
?[Nusslock] is really doing well for us,? Fleishman said. ?She?s really acting like a senior and doing the job. ? She?s won quite a few matches for us, and she won us the Harvard match, so I expect the seniors to always play well.?
While they will be underdogs against Michigan, the Badgers have a chance to finish off the weekend on a high note against Miami of Ohio. The Red Hawks are 1-4 on the road, which should benefit the Badgers.
?We definitely like our home court advantage and getting fans out here,? Seyferth said. ?But either way we just go out there and try to win.?
Despite previous losses to top-ranked teams, the Badgers have embraced these outcomes and look to use them as a steppingstone to the top.
?A couple of people had some real close games last weekend, so I think this time we?re not going to let that go? said Seyferth. ?When playing [Northwestern], we really weren?t that far off at all. I don?t think it was discouraging. I think it was encouraging for us to work even harder.?