Bearcats Fight Through Adversity, Earn BIG EAST bid|
April 18, 2012
It hasn't been a perfect season for the Bearcats. Far from it, in fact.
They finished with an overall record of 7-16 including a seven-match losing streak that started the season.
And then there were the injuries.
For much of the season the Bearcats had just enough players to compete, putting them one injury away from having to forfeit matches.
"We've had a tough season," said Head Coach Angela Wilson, "We've had some injuries, we've only had six players able to play. We need six, we've had six and we've been pretty fortunate that we haven't had to forfeit any matches, so it's been sort of a tough season."
As tough as it was, the Bearcats fought through the adversity and earned themselves a nine seed in the Big East Championship and will face eight seed Rutgers in the first round on Thursday morning.
Although the two teams didn't meet during the regular season, Wilson likes the matchup.
"I think we match up well with them," said Wilson. "I have looked at their lineup and a lot with individual scores and it's a lot about matchups and I think we match up great with them."
The reason both teams match up so well is because they are both very similar.
"They're kind of like us," said Wilson. "They've had some ups and downs. They lost to Marquette 5-2 and we lost to Marquette 6-1. They beat UConn 5-2; we beat UConn 5-2. So some of the things are all pretty similar as far as our results. So it should be a good match. It's an eight and nine seed matchup so anything can happen."
Wilson also said she likes the idea of facing Rutgers for the first time this year.
After having played a team during the regular season, players will sometimes develop expectations and either overestimate or underestimate their opponent for the second meeting.
That won't happen on Thursday.
"It's going to be fresh for us and I think it'll be good," said Wilson.
Having played a tough regular season schedule will also prepare the Bearcats for Rutgers and the rest of the tournament.
"We have played a tougher schedule than (Rutgers) and I think that will help us in the Big East," said Wilson. "We just played a tough Louisville team this past week and a tough Marshall team that are both ranked in the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) rankings. And so I think we kind of used those matches as kind of getting ready for the Big East whoever we play."
But in order for the Bearcats to secure a win, they're going to need contributions from the entire team.
Relying on one or two players isn't going to cut it.
"Everyone needs to play well," said Wilson. "It can't come down to one person. It can't come down to (Ashleigh Witte); it can't come down to (Jasmine Lee). It's going to take a team effort. Everybody's got to have that fight and that's going to be the difference."
Regardless of how successful the Bearcats are this weekend, Wilson has one message for her team--Have fun.
"I want them to have fun competing," said Wilson. "Part of competing is having fun and I don't want them to be too tight. I want them to have fun competing. I want them to enjoy the moment. Enjoy the fight and respond when things aren't going well and respond when they do go well. Not overly respond and look ahead, but enjoy the moment. And leave it all out there, it's the end of the season, this is it. Put it out there and have no regrets."
The Bearcats have had their ups and downs this season, that's for sure. But after everything they've been through they are confident and will be ready for Rutgers on Thursday.
"We had one of the tougher, middle of the pack sort of teams with probably one of the toughest, if not, the toughest schedules," said Wilson. "So we're ready. We knew that going in. We know we can compete. We know we can win."