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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Women put practice to the test with BYU Invitational

By Liz Frome

The women’s tennis team kicks off the start of its 2009 season today at the BYU Invitational in Provo. Play will continue through Saturday.

The team has only been practicing together since Monday, and head coach Mat Iandolo said the tournament will be a good opportunity to see where the team really needs some work.

“I feel like we’re as ready as we can be, given it’s this early stage in the season,” Iandolo said. “We’re going to be as ready as any of the teams we’ll play against.”

BYU and Boise State are two of the better programs the Utes will be matched up with, and Iandolo said wins against them would be a great starting point for the new season.

The Utes will use the fall season as preparation for the spring when they will play in tougher pools and work on getting to the NCAA Tournament in May 2010.

“This tournament will give us a better idea of what we need to work on,” Iandolo said. “We’ll get a lot of good information in this tournament that will help us in (those down the road.)”

Iandolo said the team is ready to take the next big step as a program.

“Our expectations for the fall this year are pretty high,” Iandolo said. “We’re ready to compete in the next level, which would be top 30, top 35 in the nation.”

Last season, the Utes finished the season No. 67 in the nation. They were sixth seed in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and upset third seed No. 41 SDSU to claim an entry into the semifinals of the MWC Tournament at the end of the season.

Although the team lost in the next round to TCU, a second seed that ranked No. 29 in the nation, Iandolo said he was happy with the team’s performance, and he felt like they ended on a positive note.

The Utes are welcoming two new players to the team this season: freshman Paige Miles from Juan Diego High School, and sophomore Missy Harris, who transferred to the program from Montana State.

Miles was a four-time Utah state 3A singles champion and finished her high school career with a perfect 72-0 record. She was a team captain for the Eagles and was named a 2009 National High School Tennis Foundation All-American.

Harris also racked up an undefeated record in high school going 73-0, and won four 2A state titles in Montana. As a freshman at Montana State, she was 7-1 in conference play, ended with a 15-2 overall record at the No. 2 singles position, and was named a first-team all-Big Sky Conference Selection.

Iandolo said he is hopeful for the performance of his new athletes and is expecting singles and doubles returners to help the program make the jump into the top 30 this season.
“Last year’s number one doubles team was Erin Monson and Andrea Maughan, and they’re probably going to be the frontrunners again this year,” Iandolo said.

After the BYU Invitational, the Utes will have two weeks off to prepare for their next tournament at the Air Force Academy Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo., from Oct. 2 to Oct. 4.
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Tyler Cobb

Erin Monson hopes to improve on her 2008 tournament second-place finish as the Utes travel to the BYU Invitational starting today in Provo. The event will run through Saturday.

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