Women's tennis: Badgers set for NCAAs

Wisconsin faces William & Mary in first-round matchup Friday

The University of Wisconsin women's tennis team faces a difficult test Friday when it faces William & Mary in the NCAA Tournament opener in Clemson, S.C. at 9:30 a.m. Central. The No. 34 Badgers (15-8 overall) meet up with the No. 20 Tribe (19-5), which earned an automatic berth after winning the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, a feat they have accomplished 18 times.

Wisconsin comes in with two ranked singles players — No. 85 sophomore Caitlin Burke and No. 115 senior Katie McGaffigan — but the Tribe can trump that. Megan Moulton-Levy, the 2005 ITA East Region Rookie of the Year and the CAA Player of the Year, is ranked No. 37 individually. She and doubles partner Candice Fuchs (No. 107 in singles) are ranked No. 21 in the country. Megan Muth is ranked No. 70 and is half of the No. 56 doubles pair; unranked Amy Wei is the other half of that duo.

Burke and McGaffigan will likely be paired together at the top doubles spot; at the Big Ten tournament, the unranked duo knocked off the top doubles team in the country of Northwestern's Audra Cohen and Cristelle Grier. Wisconsin went on to win the doubles point with a win at the No. 2 spot but the Wildcats knocked the Badgers out of the tournament with a 4-1 win in the semifinals.

McGaffigan (15-18 overall) will probably face Moulton-Levy, a sophomore in her first year of college tennis, at the top singles spot. But Wisconsin's senior has struggled throughout the year against ranked opponents, going 3-13. Burke, who spent two matches at the top spot but otherwise played at the No. 2 singles spot, has fared better against ranked opponents, going 4-4 (she finished 22-9 overall). At the No. 3 spot, senior Lindsay Martin has struggled, finishing 12-17 overall and 4-6 in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin has solid competitors at the No. 4-6 spots, with sophomore Kaylan Caiati (19-8 overall), redshirt freshman Nicole Beck (14-13 overall) and true freshman Chelsea Nusslock (19-14 overall).

Wisconsin holds a 2-2 record against William & Mary, with all of those contest coming at the ITA National Indoor Championship, hosted by the Badgers. William & Mary won the last competition 5-2 on Feb. 7, 2003.

If the Badgers defeat the Tribe, they would face the winner of the No. 11 Clemson vs. No. 58 Furman matchup.

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