This weekend, Texas will be making a trip to Ann Arbor to take on No. 25 Michigan.
The match against the Wolverines is coming on the heels of a dominant week for Texas, in which the Longhorns beat No. 19 California and dominated its match against Tulsa. Texas has had success in the past against Michigan, winning their last match 6-1 in 2010, as well as a perfect record against them in the Key Biscayne Invitational just two weeks ago. But that doesn’t mean that Texas will be able to coast their way through this one and come away with a victory.
“Obviously, playing them in Key Biscayne will be much different than playing them indoors at their home courts,” said head coach Michael Center.
Center isn’t shying away from the competition to start this season. Texas has already played one ranked team at a neutral site and will now be taking its show on the road to play another top 25 team in their own house.
“We want to play good teams,” Center said. “We want to see where we’re at and what we need to work on. Playing teams like California and Tulsa in tough environments showed us what we needed to do to continue to improve.”
Even with a tough non-conference schedule, Texas is primed for a great season and is ranked No. 5 nationally in the ITA preseason poll. The Longhorns also have the fifth-ranked doubles pair in the nation with senior Ed Corrie and junior Jean Andersen, who had a strong showing in the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in the fall. In addition to Corrie and Andersen, Texas has two more pairs in the top 25 — sophomores Ben Chen and Daniel Whitehead as well as senior Kellen Damico and redshirt freshman David Holiner.
Michigan is no slouch either, boasting a doubles team ranked in the top 30 and a singles player ranked No. 35 nationally.
“We’ll learn a lot more about the team this week when we play Michigan,” Center said.
Texas has a challenging road ahead of them before conference play begins, and it starts this weekend in Michigan.