At this time last year, the Florida women’s tennis team remained undefeated at 7-0 after winning the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.
However, following their loss to No. 7 Georgia Tech 4-2 in a consolation match at the ITA indoor championships on Sunday, the Gators currently sit at 3-4.
In the first round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Friday, Florida’s women’…
Despite its struggles, coach Roland Thornqvist isn’t worried.
“I think the process of discovery is really important to this team,” he said. “More so than chasing wins and rankings.”
One thing is certain: the wins haven’t been coming, and the team’s No. 3 ranking is sure to drop.
Among the problems that have plagued the Gators this year is their inexperienced roster, with freshmen making up half the lineup. Senior Brooke Austin, UF’s seventh player on the roster and two-time SEC Player of the Year, hasn’t practiced since October due to an undisclosed injury. According to Thornqvist, there isn’t a timetable for her return, leaving Florida one injury away from disaster.
“We have zero margin as far as injuries or illnesses are concerned,” he said. “You’d like to have maybe seven good players on the roster, just to have that built-in margin.”
UF’s unforgiving schedule won’t make improvement easy. Florida will partake in four away meets in nine days, with trips to California and Mississippi for matches against No. 1 Stanford and No. 15 Ole Miss.
Thornqvist admitted that scheduling — which happens about a year in advance — didn’t work out as well as he’d hoped.
“In a year like this, we probably could have benefitted playing at home,” he said. “When we put the schedule together, we didn’t really think we were going to have new players.”
The other issue surrounding UF is on the doubles court, as the team has yet to win when dropping the doubles point in a dual match this season.
Thornqvist decided to pair the team’s three active seniors with its three freshmen. And after watching the results unfold — with the team winning the doubles point twice in its last four matches — he said he wouldn’t switch it around anytime soon. He noted the improvement of the tandem of senior Peggy Porter and freshman Katie Kubicz, which plays at the No. 3 spot.
“We’re not gonna tinker with it,” he said. “Katie and Peggy are becoming a formidable three team, and that really helps out Team 1 and 2.”
The Gators’ next meet is against Saint Mary’s on Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. in Moraga, California.