ENMU tennis team begins season Thursday

CNJ staff

PORTALES — There will be a lot of new faces around veteran Eastern New Mexico University women’s tennis coach Christine Blaeser this spring.

Only sophomore Tracy Hughes saw regular action last season for the Zias. The seven-player roster also includes senior Tracy Williams, who missed most of the 2006 campaign with a back injury, and five freshmen — including two from Australia.

The Zias open their slate with dual matches on Thursday against host Western New Mexico, Friday against Eastern Arizona and Saturday against Grand Canyon at Silver City.

“We have potential, but a lot of the other teams got recruits in at the semester,” Blaeser said, “so we’ll just have to see how we do against them.”

Hughes is scheduled to play No. 2 singles this weekend and team with freshman Amelia “Millie” Weeks, one of the Aussies, at No. 1 doubles. Weeks will play No. 1 singles.

Blaeser, in her 17th year at ENMU, said Hughes and Weeks played well together in a fall tournament at Midwestern State.

“They can be a very good doubles team,” she said.

Blaeser said the Zias begin the spring ranked No. 10 in the Central Region, comprised of Lone Star Conference and Heartland Conference squads.

She’s not that concerned about her team’s youthfulness.

“I’ve come to find out that it’s the maturity level of the individual that matters,” Blaeser said. “Tracy Hughes is the captain, and I think she’s got a handle on the team concept.”

The Zias will play all their matches away from home except for March 2-3, when they host Western New Mexico and LSC foes Cameron and Midwestern State.