BEAUMONT - After falling in the quarterfinals of last season's conference tournament, David Wong and the Lamar women's tennis team will be attempting to climb back to the top of the Southland Conference, and in order to get there, it's going to take a strong fall campaign, which is set to begin on Friday at the Auburn Invitational.
"I'm excited and I'm very happy to see that all of my team came back in good shape and ready to compete," Wong said. "Most of them have practiced and trained really hard over the summer, but the fall is about the players learning about themselves and the team so that we can have the right atmosphere when we come back in the spring."
Wong will be taking four players along for the opening tournament of the season, something he expects to be the norm throughout the fall.
"We're going to eight tournaments this fall, but we're only going to take four to several of them," said Wong, who is entering his 13th season at the helm of the Lady Card program. "It allows me to focus a little bit more on their individual games."
The players making the trip to the plains will be Carolina Salas, Alicia Porte, Helene Czudek and Dariya Dashutina. Salas, who became the first women's tennis player to earn SLC Newcomer of the Year last season after transferring from Detroit, is excited to get the first event of the fall under her belt.
"I'm pretty excited to start," Salas said. "I think we have eight talented players on the team this year and I think we're going to be better. We've been working on strategy. We're going to work hard, follow the plan and do our best."
In addition to Auburn, the Lady Cards will be facing players from Mississippi State, Tulane, Northwestern State, Houston, Georgia Southern, Chattanooga, Kennesaw State and Louisiana. The event is slated to begin at 9 a.m. on Friday. Live scoring will not be available.