Coming off of a win over the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, the Minnesota State Women’s Tennis team faces an opponent they have struggled against in the past few years: Southwest Minnesota State University.
After winning their first eight matches against SMSU from 2010-2017, the Mavs have dropped three straight matches leading into Saturday’s matchup. It has been a tale of one team dominating the other, as the Mavs have won 8-1 or 9-0 in six of eight matches, while SMSU has won by a score of 5-2 twice and swept the Mavs 7-0 in 2021.
The Mavs will be looking to break their three match skid against the Mustangs Saturday. The Mustangs own a 4-13 record, but have been playing better as of late. After winning their first match of the season, the Mustangs proceeded to lose ten straight. Is their 3-3 record in the past six games a fluke? The Mavs will put that to the test.
“We’re not going to take anything for granted, but now we are at the point in the season where the little details matter,” said Thomae. “We are going to use our last few matches to put those things into practice and hold ourselves to a high level of performance.”
The Mavs also had to postpone their matchup against St. Cloud State March 31, but the teams have agreed on a makeup date of Tuesday, April 11.
While preparing for the NSIC Tournament, the Mavs have turned to a different type of practice to help their team chemistry.
“Every week or two weeks, we have been doing some sessions with the people in Sports Psychology,” said coach Jeff Thomae. “We have been in a sports psych consulting group that helps with mental skills.”
From defining team roles to holding each other accountable, Thomae added that the main premise of Wednesday’s session was to “do things like nobody’s watching.”
The Mavs are already a team that works well together and has seen the results that a team would want to see in the regular season. However, the playoffs are looming and teams will be hungry to knock them off.
“I can tell we are in the last couple weeks of our season. I feel like everybody has been stepping up their intensity in practice as a result of our session,” said Thomae. “The group appreciates working on the mental skills and team cohesion.”
The Mavs take action Saturday in Owatonna at 9 a.m. for their only match of the weekend.
Write to Hayden Lee at Hayden.Lee@my.smsu.edu
Header Photo: The MSU Women’s Tennis team prepares for their next match against Southwest Minnesota State this Saturday. They are looking for their 10th win on the season. (Courtesy MNSU Athletics)