Open season for Washington State tennis

Cougs host eight teams from four different conferences



Then-freshman Savanna Ly-Nguyen hits the tennis ball back towards her opponent on Mar. 31 at the Outdoor Tennis Courts. The game against Arizona resulted in a 6-1 win for the Cougars.

SHAYNE TAYLOR, Evergreen reporter

WSU tennis will open its season hosting the Cougar Classic on Friday through Sunday at the Outdoor Tennis Courts. The event will start at 10 a.m. each day and conclude on Sunday evening.

The Cougar Classic host eight teams representing five different conferences.

Boise State and Utah State are from the Mountain West Conference. Eastern Washington, Montana, Montana State and Idaho are in the Big Sky Conference. Seattle will represent the Western Athletic Conference. Gonzaga is in the West Coast Conference, and WSU is in the Pac-12.

Senior Melisa Ates said she is confident going into the match, and her expectations are that the team puts its best foot forward.

“I definitely think we are the best team,” Ates said. “I expect a Cougar tennis player to win every draw.”

Ates said the key to following up on that mindset is to carry over the hard work they have put into every practice thus far. She said she is pleased with her teammates’ efforts to this point.

“We need to bring it to the court on match day,” she said.

Both Ates and sophomore Savanna Ly-Nguyen said that this mindset comes from head coach Lisa Hart, who stays positive with the team and continues to explain the importance of not looking back.

“Lisa is definitely a role model for all of us,” Ates said. “She doesn’t look at us as athletes. We are more like family.”

Ly-Nguyen said there is plenty of excitement going into the Cougar Classic and the season as a whole. One of the things she is looking forward to the most this season is the maturity and talent level of the three freshmen on the team, she said.

Hart said all nine members of the roster have stepped up, and she is as optimistic as her team is for the Cougar Classic.

“I think everybody has led in their own way and have really helped the freshmen get to a point where they are pretty comfortable now,” Hart said.

Hart said Ates is taking a leadership role on the team.

“She is playing her very best tennis right now,” Hart said. “I am really optimistic that she is going to have an amazing year.”

Although both Ates and Ly-Nguyen want a member of WSU’s team to win every draw, Hart said that remembering to leave the past behind will be the key to a great match and a great season.

The first day of the Cougar Classic begins at 10 a.m. on Friday at the WSU Outdoor Tennis Courts in Pullman.