The Wisconsin Women’s Tennis Team has lost plenty more than they have won in recent years.
In Head Coach Kelcy McKenna’s second season at the helm of the ship however, things are looking up.
At the collegiate level, McKenna was at the top of the nation in singles and doubles – she was ranked as high as No. 3 and No. 11 respectfully during her time playing for Arizona State University.
McKenna has clearly been able to bring her expertise to the UW-program who found themselves sitting at 6-0 before the ITA Indoor National Team Indoor Tournament. The tournament was hosted at Nielsen Tennis Center in Madison, and the Badgers played host to 15 of the top schools in the nation. Although the Badgers received the automatic bid to the tournament as the host and did not fair well against the stiff competition, it was still an excellent opportunity to test their great start against the top teams in the country.
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“We’re exciting to have all these great teams come to the place that we live,” McKenna said last Wednesday referring to Nielsen, where the Badgers practice and play their home matches.
So what different about this season that has led to the early-season success?
If you ask McKenna, she will tell you “energy”.
Obviously having a high energy level is important in matches, but spend five minutes watching a practice and you will immediately see what she means.
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Yells of “Go Badgers!” and “Amazing shot!” ring through the rafters, spreading their intensity and enthusiasm to one another — and no doubt the retired men’s doubles match across the way.
The best part about the team going forward is their youth. Two freshman and three sophomores compete for the Badgers this season, which looks like a nice set up for years to come.
Especially when you consider that freshman Lexi Keberle was just ranked the No. 98 ranked singles player in the country in the ITA Division I Women’s Rankings. Keberle has yet to lose in a dual match and is 18-5 overall.
When prompted about her new move in the rankings (up from No. 118), Keberle didn’t have much to say as she was looking ahead to last weekend’s tournament.
“I just love to compete,” Keberle said.
McKenna also didn’t want to focus on the recently earned accolade for her young top singles player.
“Everybody is competing. We need everything across the board from #1-#3 doubles and all six singles.”
The team definitely was giving off the feeling that they were nowhere near satisfied by their excellent start.
In the six team matches beginning the season the team won by a combined match score of 37-3. None of the six teams, which includes Marquette University, UW- Milwaukee, Colorado State University, Northern Illinois University, Bradley University and UW-Green Bay, were ranked.
This weekend the Badgers lost on consecutive days against No. 8 Florida and No. 21 Wake Forest, getting shut out in both matches
Most signs indicate that this team may not be ready to compete with the cream of the crop in the NCAA yet, but in the coming years, the Big Ten may have a monster on their hands.