Tennis preview: Colorado State travels to California for tough competition over Spring Break

March 9, 2012

By Kathleen Spence
Athletic Media Relations

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- The Colorado State women’s tennis team will travel to California over Spring Break next week to compete in a series of matches. The first match will take place Tuesday, and continue Wednesday and Sunday.

CSU (2-6, 0-0 Mountain West) will face UC Riverside (1-8) on Tuesday at 3 p.m. MT at the SRC Tennis Courts. The Hylanders have had a tough couple of weeks, losing their last seven matches.

 Then on Wednesday the Rams will go up against No. 63 UC Irvine (7-4) at 1:30 p.m. MT at UCI. The team is coming off a four-match winning streak, with its last victory against rival Cal Poly.

“Cal Irvine is going to be a real challenge,” said Head Coach Jon Messick. “They are a nationally ranked team and one of the better teams we’re going to play all year. So we’re really hoping to see how well we can stack up against a team like that.”

On Sunday, CSU will compete against Cal State Fullerton (4-3) at 11 a.m. MT at the Titan Tennis Courts in Fullerton. CSU defeated Cal State Fullerton last year, in a close victory, 5-2. In Fullerton’s last match, against Southern Utah, the Titans swept the Thunderbirds, 7-0.

Leading the Rams this season is freshman Natalie Heffron. She has the best overall record on the team (13-5).

“Natalie has struggled in her last couple of matches, but she has played as competitive in the matches as we have the whole team,” said Messick. “She has been a pleasant surprise as a freshman and to come in as a freshman and be successful tells anyone what a five-star recruit can do.”

The Rams look to come back after two tough loses in Lincoln, Neb., against Wichita State and Nebraska. Despite this, Messick feels these matches will be a good change of pace.

“It’s really just going to be a great opportunity to get outside and get used to the conditions and get ready for the rest of the season,” said Messick.