THE GAME: North Carolina A&T (2-9, 1-2 MEAC) vs. S.C. State (9-0, 1-0 MEAC)
When: Saturday, March 17 at 1 p.m.
Where: Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center
GREENSBORO-The North Carolina A&T women's tennis team has a tall order for Saturday.
"We are facing in the No. 1 team in the conference in S.C. State," said A&T head coach James Dunwoody. "They're a solid team. If we could just compete with them, it would be an asset."
The Aggies will be hosting the Bulldogs (9-0) at 1 p.m., at the Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center. It will be the Aggies' fourth conference match of the season. A&T is 2-9 overall and 1-2 in the MEAC Southern Division. The Aggies need just one more win against a division opponent to qualify for the MEAC Tournament in April.
"We're trying to win one more match," Dunwoody said, adding that the Aggies have just three more matches against Southern Division opponents, including Saturday's contest against S.C. State. "The teams we play are pretty doggone good."
The Aggies have continued to work hard in practice to prepare for conference matches. They took last week off for spring break, but were back on the court this week.
After the break, Dunwoody is thinking about tweaking his doubles lineups for Saturday's match in order to give junior Nianna Henry more rest. Henry was hospitalized with an allergic reaction over spring break. Dunwoody added that Henry was still feeling a little ill at practice on Tuesday. If Henry sits out, it will likely mean sophomore Kimberly Stalling will have a new doubles partner.
Dunwoody is thinking of pairing freshman Kenya Colbert with Stalling, and then bringing sophomore Victorea Austin into doubles play and pairing her with junior April Burrage. Burrage and Colbert have been highly successful as a doubles duo, winning at team-best four doubles matches thus far this season. Austin has yet to compete in doubles this season.
Dunwoody has been pleased with the performance of his players, and expect them to continue to develop and play with the dedicated effort that they have all season. His younger players have certainly stepped up this season.
Stalling and Austin are tied for the team lead with four singles wins. Stalling won her last singles match, which came against Florida A&M on March 5. She has won all three of her conference singles matches to date and looks to extend that streak.
"Kimberly is playing well. She has a good understanding of what she needs to do to win," Dunwoody said. "Victorea is the most improved player on the team. It's a compliment to her that I moved her up to No. 3. I believe that in this world, if you do well, you should be promoted. We'll keep her at No. 3 and see if she continues to improve."
Austin started the season not being in the starting singles lineup, but performed well in spot starts and earned a spot at No. 6. She is 3-3 at the No. 6 spot and is 1-2 at No. 3 since she earned her promotion.
The Aggies will next go to Boiling Springs on Monday to take on Gardner-Webb at 2 p.m.