‘Biggest tournament’ serves as real challenge

Alex Endress

After recently finishing up a tough ITA All-American tournament, the Longhorns are traveling to Waco this weekend to participate in the ITA Regionals tournament. The team has high hopes for this weekend, seeing it as an opportunity to pick up some momentum as they head into the meat of their season. Junior Krista Damico and sophomore Aerial Ellis discussed how they plan on approaching this event.

Damico fell two matches before advancing to the main singles draw of the ITA All-American event. She sees this weekend as a chance to turn the team’s luck around.

“This is probably our biggest tournament of the fall,” Damico said about the ITA Regionals. “I don’t think any one of our players have been satisfied with their results yet. It’s been frustrating. Hopefully this is the tournament where we can all step up and do what we’re capable of.”

Ellis also competed in the ITA All-American tournament and started in the main singles draw.

“I had a tough first round loss to Kristy Frilling (Notre Dame). She’s ranked No. 8 in the country and it was the first match, so I was pretty nervous.”

After that she advanced all the way to the finals of back draw but suffered a defeat to Allie Will of Florida, ranked nationally as No. 4.

“I can’t complain too much about the tournament,” Ellis said. “If I’m going to lose, at least it’s to good competition.”

Damico and Ellis look to build on the success they had at the ITA Regionals last year. Damico defeated top-seed Lenka Broosova of Baylor in the quarterfinals, and as fate would have it, met up with Ellis in the semifinals. Ellis was the victor this time around. Ellis went through the tournament undefeated, ultimately grabbing the title and an invitation to the ITA
Indoor Championships.

“This event gives us another opportunity to get a lot of matches in and challenge ourselves against some of the best players in the country,” said head coach Patty Fendick-McCain.
Ellis would earn a singles berth at the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in November by getting to the quarterfinals of this event, by way of her singles ranking.