By BRANDON ZINN
The women’s tennis team faces some fierce competition on a road trip that starts Jan. 28, with a tournament, and ends on Feb. 2, with a match against No. 7 Mississippi.
Saturday the Cougars will play in the University of Minnesota Invitational Team Tournament
It’s a two-day, four-team tournament that consists of the No. 8, No. 35 and No. 57 teams in the nation. BYU is ranked No. 56.
The main objective, besides winning, will be to see how well the team does against these great teams.
“It will be fun for us to see how good or bad we are,” coach Craig Manning said. “We’ve had so many challenges this fall with injuries and players leaving that I just don’t know how good we are.”
Jodi Richardson, a junior from Canberra, Australia, majoring in P.E teaching is one athlete recovering from injury.
Richardson has been out for eight months with what she called, “a butt injury.”
“I’m excited to be out on the court, but I have to be patient and not expect too much,” Richardson said.
Kim Kelly, a senior from Salt Lake City, majoring in accounting, is up to the challenge.
“My goal is to stay on the court and do whatever it takes,” Kelly said.
The Cougars first opponent at the tournament is No. 35 Virginia Commonwealth.
The key match there will be between BYU’s Eline Chiew, ranked 22nd, and VCU’s Martina Nedelkova, ranked 26th.
Kelly and Richardson, BYU’s best doubles team, will have their hands full with Martina Nedelkova and Andrea Ondrisova, ranked No. 22 in doubles.
Richardson said she and Kelly would like to be ranked in the top 50.
A win over Nedelkova and Ondrisova, the super Slovakians, would definitely help.
If the Cougars win their match against VCU they will face the winner of the Pepperdine-Minnesota match. If they lose, they will face the loser of that match.
After the two-day adventure in Minnesota, the women’s tennis team will play University of Memphis on Monday, followed by a match with Mississippi on Wednesday.
Mississippi has two players in the top 20 along with another two in the top 64.
BYU has one player ranked in the top 100.
Manning said he is excited about the challenge and hopes to beat everyone they face.