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Announce Exclusive: Tigers excited about hosting ITA Indoor Regionals

Jan. 27, 2012

CLEMSON — Starting Saturday afternoon at the indoor tennis complex, Clemson’s women’s tennis team will find out a lot about their 2012 squad.

The Tigers (3-0) will host the ITA National Indoor Regionals and will have a chance to advance to the Sweet 16 Round in Charlottesville, VA which is scheduled for Feb.10-12. Clemson will play UNC-Wilmington at 2 p.m., while Kansas State will play Purdue to start things off at 10 a.m.

Last year, Clemson advanced to the Elite 8 of the ITA Championships thanks to a victory over UCLA. Harris says wins like that and gaining the experience her players got in the winter helped carry them through the outdoor season and into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

“It really helps you a lot if you make it past the first and second days, you go on to the final 16 and they are the best teams in the country,” Harris said. “You are going to get three awesome matches so it gives your players a look at what the end of the year is going to be like.

“It certainly tells us what the ACC is all about because we have seven teams that are in the top 15 in the country.”

Clemson, again one of the favorites in the ACC this season, is coming off a 6-1 victory over Winthrop on Wednesday. The Tigers, who have new players in Monika Kochanova and Romy Kolzer playing at five and six singles, still cruised to an easy victory even though Josipa Bek, their top singles player, struggled and lost her match.

“We’ve showed after those last three matches that we have played better and better in the lower part of the lineup, which I was very happy to see,” Harris said. “Jo does such a great job of lifting our team up and pulling us forward and today her teammates had to do that for her. I was really happy to see they all stepped up and played well.”

Now Harris is hoping another good weekend by her young players will add to the experience Bek, Keri Wong, Klara Vyskocilova and Nelly Ciolkowski got during last year’s Elite 8 run in the ITA National Indoor Championships.

“It helps our players recognize how mentally tough they have to be,” she said. “It is all about the mental toughness and being able to go the distance. You don’t want to be just physically fit and mentally ready, but you want to have enough experience with you to do well there and take something away from that.

“You step up mentally when you come away from the tournament.”