It is said that something good can always come out of the bad. The Wisconsin women’s tennis team hopes that holds true for its recent woes on the tennis court.
The Badgers (10-9, 1-6 Big Ten) are currently weathering the storm of a four-match losing streak over the past two weekends, all against Big Ten opponents.
Wisconsin lost both of its matches last weekend, at Ohio State and Penn State, by one point.
Head coach Brian Fleishman thinks that his team will be able to learn from its recent losses in close matches.
“I really truly think now that these losses happen for a reason,” Fleishman said. “The 4-3 matches that we’ve lost, it’s really come down to the last couple of balls hit. I think we have gotten tougher from that now. So moving forward in the season, if we have another 3-3 match, I think everyone’s willing to step up and I think people are actually wanting that pressure now.”
On Friday the Badgers look to win their first match in the month of April when Purdue comes to Madison.
Purdue (12-4, 4-3 Big Ten) is ranked No. 34 in the ITA national rankings.
While the high-ranking Boilermakers do have a season to hang their hat on so far, they are losers of three out of their last five matches.
Wisconsin lost to Purdue last year 4-3 and has yet to beat them during Fleishman’s four-year tenure.
A bright spot during the Badgers’ recent slump is the play of freshman Nova Patel, who has won her last three matches in singles play.
Patel knows she is playing well right now and is hoping to continue that against Purdue Friday.
“I like the way I’m playing right now,” Patel said. “We lost two really tough matches last weekend but I think we have a really good chance of winning this match and hopefully I can help us do that.”
On Sunday, Wisconsin is slated for battle against No. 47 Indiana.
The Hoosiers (15-6, 4-3 Big Ten) are coming off of a loss at the hands of Nebraska last weekend.
Leading the Indiana attack is junior Leslie Hureau who is No. 67 in the ITA rankings for singles play.
Hoosiers head coach Lin Loring has been in charge of the program at Indiana for 34 years and has the most wins in D-1 women’s tennis history.
“They call Lin Loring the godfather; he’s a great coach,” Fleishman said. “We have to expect a battle with Indiana. The girls realize now that we have to put a lot more balls in play than we have in the past. I think against these two teams (Purdue and Indiana) that’s going to be the case too. Whoever puts more balls in play is probably going to win these two matches.”
Senior Angela Chupa has some extra motivation going into the match Sunday against Indiana with her sister, freshman Carolyn Chupa, who suits up for the Hoosiers.
“I’m excited for that match,” Chupa said. “My sister plays for them so it is going to be a lot of fun.”
Wisconsin is going to have a special guest coming to the match on Sunday to cheer them on.
A young girl from the Wish Upon A Badger program is coming to have her dream fulfilled by hanging out with the team and watch them in action on Sunday.
Fleishman is excited for the opportunity and knows his team will get as much out of the experience as the girl herself.
“We have a 12-year-old girl that has B-cell leukemia who’s going to participate in practice on Saturday and will be honorary captain on Sunday for the team,” Fleishman said. “It’s something for us to do to give back; I think it’s important to do that.
“Me as a coach, I think it is so important for these girls to realize that when they have a bad day, it’s really not a bad day as opposed to cancer. It’s good for these girls to be around somebody like that and be inspired by that.”