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IN THEIR WORDS: @patriotstennis eyes 3rd straight title

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
by Wes Bloomquist || wbloomquist@uttyler.edu

TYLER – The No. 33-ranked UT Tyler Patriots will open the American Southwest Conference Women’s Tennis Championship with a 4:30 p.m. match against Sul Ross on Thursday at the Summers Tennis Center. The match will follow three other contests with the winner advancing to a 2 p.m. semifinal match on Friday with the goal of playing in the 11 a.m. championship match on Saturday.

UT Tyler has won the past two ASC Championship titles and is playing for the program’s eighth tournament title. The Patriots are ranked No. 33 in the nation and No. 7 in the region, while East Texas Baptist is ranked No. 10 in the region and Hardin-Simmons is at No. 14 in the West. Below are the thoughts of the Patriots entering the postseason tournament.

Kaitlyn Huskey  |  JUNIOR  | Tyler, Texas
“With the ASC tournament right around the corner, I am looking forward to the competition and being able to share such a great experience with my teammates, which I have grown very close to over the past year. As a team, we are all very competitive in nature and we give everything we have in each match. This is what we will bring to the table this weekend in hopes of ending our season with a win. In the past year, I have learned a lot about my game and have grown tremendously in my doubles play. The coaches have done a great job in teaching me how to think logically and how to effectively strategize with my doubles partner when facing different teams each week. My doubles partner, Lauren Kuhn, and I first started playing together at the beginning of this Spring semester. As individuals we have two completely different game styles, but as a team we work very well together. Our main strength is that Lauren has powerful strokes from the baseline, which in turn puts our opponents on the defense and us on the offense allowing us to put balls away and finish points. Both on and off the court, Lauren and I can be serious when we need to be, but at the same time we have fun and share lots of laughs.”

Lauren Kuhn  |  Freshman  |  Carrollton, Texas
“I am looking forward to playing the other teams and putting everything we’ve worked on this season into play. Our team has worked really hard throughout this whole season and as long as we continue that and we play the way we have been, we should be able to win. Going into the postseason, I am feeling confident in my forehand, it has been a strength for me this season and with the work I have put in to improving it, I’m hopeful that it will continue to be an important part of my game and help me win matches. Kaitlyn Huskey and I have become a great team. We have learned to trust and rely on each other. Our game styles are very different but they complement each other and it works for us.” 

Nicole Musngi  |  SENIOR   |  Rowlett, Texas
“I’m excited to finish off this season strong with my team. We get to show everyone, and each other, what we have been working so hard for all season. Whether you’re at the top of the line up, or the bottom, everyone has a role to play for the team to be successful. In order for us to win, I think it’s important for all the girls to believe in one another, and to remember that you’re doing this for them and not only yourself. I definitely feel the most confident in my forehand when it comes to my game. To back that up, my go to shot is my backhand slice because most people find it very annoying to hit back. My doubles partner is Allie McKissick, and I think that we have great communication on and off the court. I love playing with her because she works hard everyday no matter how she’s feeling or what other things she has to do besides tennis. I never have to worry about her not giving it her best effort. On the court, we balance each out other very well because she’s strong at the net, and I’m stronger at the baseline. I think that the most important part of our game is that we never give up on each other and always encourage each other to be better.”

Tori Musngi  |  Junior  |  Rowlett, Texas
“I am looking forward to playing in the ASC tournament because of the competitive environment it provides. Every single player out there knows the importance of every single match. In order to win the championship, each of us has to remember all the advice that the coaches have given us throughout the season and be able to apply and utilize it.  With my doubles partner (Mary Alice Blacketer), I think we have developed a great sense of trust because we've gotten to know each other very well throughout the season. We have different game styles within ourselves, which makes it difficult for other teams to adjust accordingly.”

Alexandra McKissick  |  FRESHMAN  |  Humble, Texas
“I am looking forward to the competition of the ASC tournament, and the fact that we are hosting makes the tournament more exciting. I think that it will take a lot of heart and team work in order to win the championship. I feel very confident about my doubles game with my partner Nicole Musngi. I am very excited about the competitive match play we are about to experience. My doubles partner, Nicole Musngi, and I have developed a very strong relationship on and off the court. With Nicole being a senior she has shown me the ropes of college tennis and has really helped me improve in my doubles game. I'm very lucky to have such a strong bond with my partner and I believe that is what helps us win.”

Janae Warren  |  SENIOR  |  New Braunfels, Texas
“I am looking forward to finishing out the season strong on our home courts. We have some challenging matches ahead but we are not afraid of the challenge; we are excited for it. It is going to take a maximum effort from every player for us to get the three-peat. There are 15 of us on the team and every single person has a role and every single person is just as important to the team. Whether it is cheering our lungs out from the side or playing hard on the court, we all have to be all in. I am a senior this year so I am bringing three years of experience with me. Tennis has been a journey and has taught me a lot about who I am. I know that my identity is not in the wins and losses but in God. This simple principle is so freeing and is what allows me to play with confidence on the court. I will bring that experience and confidence into the post season matches. I do not play doubles, but I will say that we have good team chemistry as a whole. This team is my family. They push me to be better everyday, they pick me up, and they never let me down. They are the voice of confidence and consistent encouragement in my life. It is my hope and prayer that I am the same for them.”

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