GREENSBORO-The North Carolina A&T women's tennis team battled again against a tough Wofford Terriers club on Saturday afternoon at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center in their last match before meeting a conference opponent on Sunday.
The Aggies were swept by Wofford 7-0, but are looking forward to taking what they've learned their first three matches into their contest against Savannah State in Georgia on Sunday at 2 p.m.
"I think they really played hard, they've dedicated themselves, the leadership of the team has really stepped up to the plate and decided that they really want to win. We're really happy with the way they played in the three previous matches because of course these are universities, teams, that are perhaps a little more seasoned than we are," said head coach James Dunwoody.
The Aggies (0-3) struggled a little bit in doubles, with each pair losing 8-1 against their Terrier opponents. Dunwoody encouraged them in the break between doubles and singles to become more aggressive in their play, and that they needed to return to the strong form they displayed in practice all week.
"I'm hoping tomorrow in Savannah, Georgia that we're going to get that doubles point. The doubles point is a major point in DI tennis because when you win the doubles point, when you start the singles out, you're already up 1-0. It enhances your outlook, it enhances your motivation levels."
Dunwoody was pleased with the effort displayed by senior Azeib Nigatu and junior Cayla Cross in their No. 1 doubles match against Sarah Evans and Guinn Garcia, and added that they were the most impressive and productive duo on the courts for the Aggies on Saturday.
Junior Nianna Henry paired up with sophomore Kimberly Stalling in doubles play, but was unavailable to compete in her normal No. 5 starting spot because of lingering problems with her left ankle, which she injured in the first match of the 2011 season. Dunwoody said that because of the injury, the A&T athletic training staff cleared her only for doubles, but not singles. He said that might be the way they have to play her for the rest of the season.
With the injury to Henry, junior April Burrage moved up a spot in the singles starting lineup to No. 5, and sophomore Victorea Austin got to compete at the No. 6 spot.
Dunwoody was very pleased with the competitiveness and performance of Burrage and Austin.
Dunwoody hopes that facing stiff competition in the first three matches will give his team an advantage when they start MEAC competition on Sunday.
"I always try to put them in a more stressful situation on the front end so in the back end they find themselves with a more competitive edge because they've already been there. They've already done that. They've already seen that, so there's the possibility when we get to our conference matches they'll be a lot more prepared and ready to go."
But he acknowledged that he and the team are hungry for a win.
"My wife says I need to get a win sooner than later, to get back to being a normal person," Dunwoody said with a wry smile. "I've got to get a win sooner or I think she might kick me out of the house for being evil."
Following their match on Sunday at Savannah State, the Aggies will next play at Davidson on Feb. 4 at 1 p.m.
1. Sarah Evans (WOF) def. CROSS,Cayla (NCATW) 6-2, 6-1
2. Julia Paulson (WOF) def. NIGATU,Azeib (NCATW) 6-1, 6-2
3. Audrey Coventry (WOF) def. COLBERT,Kenya (NCATW) 6-0, 6-1
4. Guinn Garcia (WOF) def. STALLING,Kimberly (NCATW) 6-1, 6-3
5. Othilia Lindqvist (WOF) def. BURRAGE,April (NCATW) 6-3, 6-0
6. Emily Przystawski (WOF) def. AUSTIN,Victorea (NCATW) 6-1, 6-2
1. Sarah Evans/Guinn Garcia (WOF) def. CROSS,Cayla/NIGATU,Azeib (NCATW) 8-1
2. Julia Paulson/Samantha Sullivan (WOF) def. STALLING,Kimberly/HENRY,Nianna (NCATW) 8-1
3. Othilia Lindqvist/Emily Przystawski (WOF) def. COLBERT,Kenya/BURRAGE,April (NCATW) 8-1