Eastern New Mexico University women’s tennis coach Christine Blaeser likes to win as much as the next person, but for now she’s trying to get her team through another season.
Blaeser, in her 15th year as the ENMU coach, won’t be able to field a full team this weekend when the Zias open with matches against three Lone Star Conference rivals at Plano, Texas.
Freshman Cassidy Bancks, scheduled to play No. 6 singles and team with freshman Ashley Toye at No. 3 doubles, is expected to be out two or three weeks due to kidney stones, leaving the Zias with only five active players for the time being.
“Right now the competitition is not my main concern; it’s (the players’) well-being,” Blaeser said. “We’ll just do the best we can against the competition.
“We’re going to try to survive the semester. We’ve got some girls (who are dealing) with ill parents, and they’re going through some emotional times.”
At Plano, the Zias take on Midwestern State and East Central on Friday and Southeastern Oklahoma on Saturday.
The only returnee from last season is junior Erica Kelly, who is at No. 2 singles and will team with junior Elyse Jacques at No. 1 doubles. Jacques, a junior college transfer, is penciled in at No. 1 singles.
“She’s a nice player,” Blaeser said of Jacques, who came from Temple (Texas) Junior College. “She has great ground strokes, and she’s a very well-coached all-around player.”
Freshman Ivana Moquino and Portales sophomore Kristin VanWettering are at Nos. 3 and 4 singles, and will play No. 2 doubles. Toye, who has been nursing a knee injury, is slated to be at No. 5 singles.
Nine LSC schools sponsor women’s tennis. Perennial favorite Abilene Christian and Midwestern State are nationally-ranked, Blaeser said, and should be the teams to beat.
25 — vs. Midwestern State, 11 a.m., and East Central, 3 p.m., at Plano, Texas; 26 — vs. Southeastern Oklahoma, 8 a.m., at Plano, Texas.
4 — vs. Tarleton State, 9 a.m., and Abilene Christian, 1 p.m., at Abilene, Texas; 5 — vs. Western New Mexico, 8 a.m., and Hardin-Simmons, 1 p.m., at Abilene Texas; 11 — vs. East Central, 8:30 a.m., and Northeastern State, 2 p.m., at Ada, Okla.; 12 — vs. Central Oklahoma, 8:30 a.m., at Ada, Okla.
1 — vs. Central Oklahoma, 8:30 a.m., and St. Mary’s, 1:30 p.m., at Lawton, Okla.; 2 — vs. Cameron, 8:30 a.m., at Lawton, Okla.; 14-16 — UCO Invitational at Edmond, Okla.; 21-23 — Lone Star Conference tournament at Abilene, Texas.
Note: All times Mountain.
Cassidy Bancks, Fr., Marysville, B.C.; Elyse Jacques, Jr., Austin, Texas; Erica Kelly, Jr., Stockton, Calif.; Ivana Moquino, Fr., Albuquerque; Ashley Toye, Fr., Kelowna, B.C.; Kristin VanWettering, So., Portales.