DU women’s tennis has “hockey fever.” Listen to the team talk about being in the arena in Fargo Saturday to watch Luko and company.
If there’s one thing University of Denver head women’s tennis coach Christian Bass wants you to know about her team, it comes down to two words she uses: “match tough.”
From playing in luxurious venues like Pepperdine’s, to tougher conditions in the Summit League, at this point her student-athletes are ready for whatever comes their way.
And with a key series of matches coming against three Pac-12 opponents, Bass says her players have no other choice: “We really gotta be focused, be flexible.”
Hoping to win their fifth straight, the #43 Pioneers (12-3, 3-0) take on the #47 University of Utah Tuesday at Denver Tennis Park.
Match time is 4:30p, and will be the women’s first outdoor contest at DTP.
The Pios adjusted their training on a windy Monday afternoon to get ready for outside play.
“Get a lot of moving in outdoors, get used to a little bit of a breeze, and work on a few things that hopefully we can use against Utah,” Bass said.
The battle with a Power Five opponent comes after sweeping Summit rival North Dakota 7-0 Saturday in Grand Forks (before heading to Fargo to watch hockey dispatch American International College 3-0 and punch their ticket to the Frozen Four).
It’s a little bit of a quick turnaround but the team says they can handle it.
The Utes are a Pac-12 conference team, but aren’t quite at the level of Stanford or Washington. Their record is 2-3 In the tough Pac-12 and were on a two match losing streak before beating conference bottom-dweller Oregon 4-0 at in Salt Lake City Sunday.
They are led by Brianna Chisholm. The senior is 8-3 and 3-0 in the Pac-12 in doubles alongside her partner freshman Madison Tattini. That includes a win over the #43 doubles team at conference powerhouse Washington.
Head coach Mat Iandolo is no stranger to the Pios, going back to his days when he coached Purdue and DU head coach Christian Bass was a top doubles player alongside his sister at Notre Dame.
“Christian is the best young coach in the country. I am so proud of what she has accomplished,” he explains. “I know as long as she is coaching at DU they will be good!”
Another thing that makes this Utah team dangerous – their backs are against the wall. While the Pioneers are expected to make the NCAAs by winning the Summit League for the sixth-straight year, the Utes don’t have that option playing in a premier women’s tennis conference.
Iandolo says Tuesday is an “extremely important match, more important for us as we will not get in NCAAs without an at large bid.”
Things won’t get any easier for the Pios after Tuesday, who then fly to Arizona to face the University of Arizona in Tucson Saturday, and then Arizona State in Tempe Sunday.
Bass doesn’t mince words, she said it would be “huge” for the program if they came out of their Pac-12 swing 3-0.
She believes it’s do-able as long as her squad keeps its eyes on the prize.
“Come out and play…and play hard.”