Katie Ruckert's serving it up!: February 21
Hello, everyone! This is Katie Ruckert, a junior on the Texas women's tennis team. I am very excited about having the opportunity to write a journal which will keep you up-to-date on what's happening with the team, both on the court and off. I'll also fill you in on our matches and our travels throughout the 2005 season. Check back frequently to see what we've been up to!
Hello Longhorn Fans!
I know it's been a while since I have briefed you all, but the past week has reminded me that I am a student as well as an athlete at Texas. It is particularly difficult to manage your school work in the spring since it is the dual tennis season. On the positive side, though, it gives everyone an opportunity to perfect their time management skills. Well, enough about academics, let me fill everyone in on how the season is going.
We flew to Iowa last weekend (Feb. 12) to play Iowa State, which was our first Big 12 match of the year, and we beat the Cyclones, 7-0. Everyone played well in their matches and tried to get off the courts as quickly as possible as we had another match the next day against Kansas. After the Iowa State match we hopped on our chartered bus and started our five-hour drive to Kansas, which is a beautiful part of the country to drive through. I have to say, the one advantage to playing in the Big 12 Conference is that you get to travel to a number of places that you would most likely never visit on your own. Eventually, I want to travel to all 50 states and playing in this conference helps me to achieve that goal.
We played Kansas (on Feb. 13) at a very nice indoor tennis facility in Overland Park, Kan., and again, we won the match, 7-0. Everyone played very aggressively and took care of business in their matches. The level of play was much more focused and cleaner against Kansas and everyone played at a very high level of intensity. As a team, we took a lot away from that match. We were expected to win, but we really dominated the Kansas women and beat them outright.
After these two matches, we spent the week getting ready for our doubleheader against Nebraska and Oklahoma State. Doubleheaders are really a test of not only your physical stamina but also your mental toughness. Unfortunately, it rained on Saturday (Feb. 19), so we drove to San Antonio to play the match at Thousand Oaks Racquet Club. We played Nebraska first and beat them, 7-0. Their level of play has significantly improved since past years and they competed very well at all their positions. Overall, it was a good match for us.
After the Nebraska match, we waited approximately a half hour and then we went out to play Oklahoma State. They can be a tough group to play because they are very talented and you just never know how focused they are going to be. I thought we played much better in that match than we did against Nebraska. We set the tone for the match by playing aggressive and focused doubles on all three courts. Our intensity seemed to really carry over into the singles matches and we were racing against each other to see who could get off the court first. In the Nebraska match, I was one of the last ones to finish, so it was my personal goal to try to be one of the first to finish in the OSU match. I am happy to report that I accomplished my goal, but Courtney Zauft and Kendra Strohm seemed to have the same goal as well (Kendra finished first and Courtney finished second)!
We will be practicing hard this week in anticipation of our matches this weekend (Feb. 26-27) against #4 Northwestern and #20 Notre Dame. They are both very talented teams and these matches will be a good opportunity for us to gauge where we are at this point in the season. We know our fans will be with us in spirit!