Horns open weekend in North Carolina

Kathryn Thiel

Texas is looking to show a strong performance in its season-opening tournament this weekend at the Duke Invitational in Durham, N.C.

“The quality of players in this tournament will ready them for the rest of the fall,” said Texas head coach Patty Fendick-McCain. “These ladies know, based on last year, that you have to get out of the blocks fast.”

The Longhorns possess considerable depth in their lineup, with standout players such as junior Aeriel Ellis and senior Krista Damico, as well as the addition of four freshmen. Ellis and Damico, along with Noel Scott, Elizabeth Begley and Cierra Gaytan-Leach, will be competing in this weekend’s tournament.

“Our team came in this semester very fit and ready to go and compete,” Fendick-McCain said. “They have played a lot of matches amongst themselves over the past couple of weeks.”

The Longhorns had substantial success at the end of last year, when Ellis was honored as the first UT women’s tennis player to receive the All-American honor in 11 years. She will face Texas A&M’s Lauren Santacroce in the first round this weekend. Damico, who recently represented the United States in the World University Games, will face Duke’s Mary Clayton. This tournament is the first opportunity for the Longhorns to continue to add to the success of last year, when the Longhorns made their 29th appearance in the NCAA tournament.

“This is a great tournament at Duke,” Fendick-McCain said. “It’s an incredibly high national level of play. It’s a really good chance for our girls to get some big wins.”

Printed on Friday, September 16, 2011 as: Duke invitational provides early test.