WSU tennis pre-season continues at Husky Invitational

Cougs face rivals on their home-court 

Then-freshman+Yang+Lee+hits+the+tennis+ball+back+towards+her+opponent+on+Mar.+31%2C+2019+at+the+Outdoor+Tennis+Courts.

JACQUI THOMASSON | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Then-freshman Yang Lee hits the tennis ball back towards her opponent on Mar. 31, 2019 at the Outdoor Tennis Courts.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Evergreen reporter

WSU tennis is set to continue the fall preseason as they head to Seattle to take on the Husky Invitational. The team will be competing against three other schools: University of Oregon, DePaul University and the hosting University of Washington.

It is the second tournament that the Cougs will be competing in during the early stages of the year, as they took on the Gonzaga Invitational two weeks ago.

It is an especially important series of matches for WSU, as they are preparing two incoming freshmen for the rigor of a full season.

Alongside the two newcomers are six returning players from the previous season, showing that the Cougs have an impressive mix of youth and experience on the roster.

The Washington Invitational will be played between Friday and Sunday, with WSU playing both doubles and singles during the first two days and just singles on the final day.

On Friday, WSU will go head-to-head with the Oregon Ducks in singles and the Washington Huskies in doubles. Then on Saturday, they will face the DePaul Dibs in singles and Oregon in doubles. They will conclude the weekend with the rivalry matchup with singles against UW.

The tournament will give a preview of how this Cougar team will match up against Conference opponents and prepare them for the spring season where-in they will face these teams once again with stakes on the line.

The focus will be on two specific players for the Cougs, will both of those players being the incoming freshman.

Eva Alvarez Sande, one of the freshmen, went undefeated in the Gonzaga Invitational and looks to be one of the promising newcomers to the Pac-12. Yura Nakagawa is the other freshman and was nearly just as impressive in the same invitational, showing how strong the youth is at WSU.

Head coach Raquel Atawo will also be at the forefront of the tournament, going into her second season as the coach and coming off the heels of a disappointing season. Atawo is looking for every returning player to improve their performance and the team to be more well-rounded.

The end of the season showed great promise for the future as the Cougs beat UW twice within five days. Once at the Hollingbery Fieldhouse in Pullman and again in the Pac-12 Championships the team will look forward to building off of that slimmer of success for an entire season.

Last season, the team was relatively top-heavy with seniors Michaela Bayerlova and Savanna Ly-Nguyen dominating most matchups and the rest of the lineup struggling more often than not. This season, the hope is for the team to be able to compete top to bottom.

The Washington Invitational will be the second of four preseason tournaments that will be held for the team before the spring season begins.