Pleun Burgmans (above), a two-time All-American, is a key performer for the Tigers.
Auburn, Ala.--As the Auburn women’s tennis team begins NCAA Tournament regional competition at its home courts on Friday, the program’s winningest player and the head coach are in agreement on the keys to success for the Tigers.
“We just need to keep believing in ourselves,” said Coach Lauren Spencer, whose 11th-ranked team is the top seed in the four-team Auburn Regional. Play begins on Friday at 11 a.m. CDT at Yarbrough Tennis Center with No. 35 North Carolina State (15-11) taking on No. 22 Arizona State (17-15) at 11 a.m.
The winner of that match will play at 1 p.m. on Saturday vs. the winner of Friday’s 1 p.m. match featuring Auburn (22-7) vs. SWAC champion Alcorn State, which has a 13-15 overall record.
The 64-team field features 16 regional tournaments. The winner of each of those events advances to the national tournament Sweet 16 round in Tulsa.
“We are a team of grit,” Spencer said. “We will go five hours if we have to. We have had so many dogfights from the beginning of this season until the very end. We are battle-ready so if you are going to beat us you have to come with it.”
Coach Lauren Spencer has improved the Auburn team since making the move to AU from SMU.
Senior Pleun Burgmans, the South Region Player of the Year, says, “I?just think the key is to keep doing what we have been doing all year, and that is keeping working hard and giving it everything we have got on the court.
“I think this is the most hard-working team that we have had in my four years here and it is just great that everyone wants to give everything for the team, not just for themselves,” the left-hander says. “It feels like a family to me.”
Burgmans holds the Auburn career for doubles victories with 107 and total victories at 192.
Tickets are $5 general admission or $3 for students, children 3-12 and fans 65 years or older who come to check out the action at Yarbrough Tennis Center.
“This is probably the hardest-working bunch I have ever had,” Spencer says. ‘They are really dedicated to what they want to do and have tried to create a culture of working hard to do your best. What you do during the week is going to help you have success on the weekends when you play matches.
“They do lessons on their own, they hit on their own, they are really serious about their tennis so it has been a blessing because they are such hard workers. Because they have this common goal of what they want to do they keep each other accountable.”