Tennis comes home for senior night

Cougars will compete in final two home matches this season, look to move up Pac-12 standings


GEORGE RODRIGUEZ | Daily Evergreen File

WSU sophomore Guzal Yusupova sends a ball across the court to an Idaho opponent Jan. 20 at the Hollingbery Fieldhouse.

RYAN MOSHER, Evergreen reporter

No. 37 WSU tennis will finish its home portion of the season when two Pac-12 teams come to Pullman this weekend.

The Cougars will play No. 22 Stanford University (12-3, 6-0) on Friday, then turn around and take on No. 45 University of California, Berkeley, (10-6, 5-2) the following day.

WSU Head Coach Lisa Hart said the Cougars are looking forward to stepping on their home court and taking down both Pac-12 foes.

“They’re both really talented teams, but so are we,” Hart said, “so if we play well, I think we have a good chance in both matches.”

The match against Cal will serve as senior day for WSU. The team’s sole senior, Barbora Michalkova, said many of the friends she has made over the last four years will be there to support her because her family, who lives in the Czech Republic, cannot attend.

“We usually have dinner the day before, then usually teammates will prepare something, [a] small surprise,” Michalkova said. “I have friends here that I met my freshman year, so all of them are coming to my senior dinner as my family.”

The upcoming matches will be crucial for NCAA Tournament selection. Hart has said throughout the year the team needs to be in the top 40 to be “inside the bubble” for tournament selection, which begins May 1. Thirty-one teams are automatic qualifiers, and the remaining 33 spots are at-large bids.

Hart said she is happy to be in the top 40 in the country, but wants to be even higher.

“I think we’re inside the bubble, but not as inside as I would like,” Hart said. “I think to make sure that we’re in control of our own destiny … we need to try to win some matches here at the end [of the season].”

Stanford is the only remaining Pac-12 team that is undefeated in conference play.

Hart and her team will face Stanford at 1:30 p.m. Friday and Cal at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The location for the matches is to be determined. If the temperature outside is below 50 degrees and the wind speed exceeds 25 miles per hour, the matches will be held inside the Hollingbery Fieldhouse. Otherwise, they will be held at the WSU Outdoor Tennis Center.

“We’ve played a lot of outside tennis already, just not in Pullman,” Hart said. “I think our group is kind of ready for whatever.”