At one point this season, it seemed like every key player on Miami was bitten by the injury bug. That said, the ‘Canes still found a way to obtain the No. 1 seed for this weekend’s Big East Championships.
For sophomore Todd Widom, this is exactly where the team wants to be.
“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to win the Big East,” Widom said. “We’re favored to win as the number one seed.”
Over the course of the season, several of the team’s top players went down with leg injuries, forcing head coach Bryan Getz to fill in the missing holes.
“We’re a little thin because of injuries,” Getz said. “But the guys that are healthy have been working hard and we’re ready to go this weekend.”
Although injuries threaten to slow the Hurricanes down, the team still feels that it is team to beat, especially on their court.
“Even with our injuries and going up against our two biggest rivals, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, we still expect to win it,” Getz said.
The Hurricanes finished the dual meet season with a 12-7 record and Getz feels that this year has been very rewarding.
“We’ve done it with basically six guys all year, which is very abnormal for college tennis,” Getz said. “Usually teams will have eight or nine guys and with the schedule we’ve had, I think this season was a success.”
Widom, who carries a No. 22 ranking into the tournament, hopes he can use this weekend’s matches to improve his game even more.
“For me this year has been mediocre, but I’ve been putting in the hours on the court and hopefully I’ll peak at the right time,” Widom said.
As if the team needed any more adversity this season, junior Luis Manrique lost his grandfather recently. Manrique took a couple of days off but should be able to participate this weekend.
“I’m getting back into it and hopefully I’ll be ready to go,” Manrique said.
Manrique has been impressed with the team effort in the regular season, especially in helping each other overcome the injury plague.
“With the different injuries plaguing us at different times during the year, players keep coming up big when we need them to,” Manrique said.
The Hurricanes are in a weird position heading into this weekend. Not many teams are able to grab the top seed and yet still be considered an underdog. Neverthless, the No. 27 ‘Canes look to “upset” their biggest rivals this weekend and Getz is looking forward to what the tournament has in store for his squad.
“Other teams know that we are down on players, but are goal has been to win the Big East Tournament from the beginning, and our expectations haven’t changed,” Getz said. “Our young guys have gotten a lot of exposure this year, and we hope to build on it.”
Douglas Kroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.