Tigers Enjoy Day Off, Focused on Task at Hand

May 18, 2011

Team Banquet Photo Gallery

STANFORD, CA – Keri Wong has been to San Francisco, CA before, but never like this.

Wong, who has relatives that live in the Bay area, has already seen all the attractions the California city has to offer. But, when the Clemson junior saw Nelly Ciolkowski and Klara Vyskocilova carrying around their cameras and taking pictures while being in awe of seeing things like the Golden Gate Bridge, that’s when she realized how special and different this trip to California is.

“It was so fun,” Wong said following practice Wednesday at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center in Stanford, CA. “They were impressed, especially the ones with cameras. It was all kind of cool.

“I was the only one that had been to San Francisco, actually, so it was really cool to see everybody be together like that before the tournament.”

Senior Laurianne Henry was one of those first timers to the Bay area, though she had been to California when she was in the junior circuit back in high school.

“It was so awesome,” said Henry as she and the Tigers prepare to take on No. 2 Florida in the Round of Sixteen on Friday. “We got to see the Golden Gate Bridge and we saw Alcatraz, though we didn’t go there we could see it the whole time.

“We went to this place called Sausalito, which was beautiful. We also walked the streets in the downtown area of San Francisco. It was just awesome. I think a lot of the girls had never been to California so it was fun to watch them.”

The Tigers also visited Fisherman’s Wharf, one of the more popular destinations in the San Francisco Bay area, which has hundreds of shops and rides.

“I have never been here before,” Ciolkowski said. “It has been awesome. We spent the whole day (Tuesday) visiting and touring. As international students, it’s been one of our dreams to come to San Francisco. We have always wanted to visit that city so it was awesome.

“It’s a very impressive city. The weather wasn’t that good. I wish it was sunny like today because we had a little bit of rain, but it was still good to see everything like the bridge and stuff. We took a lot of pictures.”

After spending all day Monday traveling from Fayetteville, AR, where Clemson won the Arkansas Regional, Henry said it was nice of Head Coach Nancy Harris to give the team a day off to relax and enjoy the experience.

“Honestly, there are not many days in the school year that we are completely off,” she said. “It is either we have school or we have tennis. Then to be in San Francisco and to explore this city, that was awesome. I think everybody feels really rejuvenated today and ready to get down to business.

“It was a good break.”

With the sightseeing over with, now it’s time for the Tigers to get back to the real business at hand – beating Florida and advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The Gators beat Clemson 4-0 back on Feb. 19 in the Elite Eight of the ITA Team National Indoor Championships.

“Florida is a tough team, but anything can happen,” Wong said. “They beat us 4-0, but all the matches were close. I think because it was so close last time, and it is outside now, I think we have a good chance of turning things around.

“I guess we will see.”