Bronco senior Erika Barnes has had a solid senior season for Santa Clara. One of three seniors on the women's tennis team, Barnes has moved into the top-10 all-time in career doubles victories and is nearing the top-10 in singles. Barnes and the Broncos take on the USF Dons on Sunday, April 1 at 11:00 a.m. in an important West Coast Conference match.
What do you need to do to beat USF again?
We need to come out fast in singles and win the doubles point. We started a bit slow in singles last time and we got down in some matches so we were forced to come back. We can't count on doing that again.
Casey Knutson and you have developed good chemistry in doubles. What has been the key to your success as a team?
I think that we both have a lot of experience. We have worked with Ben (Cabell) a lot on improving our doubles and he has been great. We have been focusing on getting to the net first and finishing off points when we have the chance. That has been important for us.
Head coach Ben Cabell gave the team a few days off this week. Was that important for you guys so that you stay fresh after finals and two matches last week?
We had finals and two big matches last weekend and some of us had a long week without much sleep. We definitely needed a few days to catch our breath and relax.
What did you do on your days off?
I just laid low and sat on the couch for a couple of days. It was fun. I haven't been able to do that in a while.
How do you prepare for two matches and finals all in the same week?
It is really difficult to manage both. I was personally very lucky because I just had a couple of projects to do and not any big tests, but some of the team had finals on Friday afternoon. It was tough because both tennis and studying require a lot of mental energy. We got through it alright though. We have been balancing school and tennis our whole lives so we have a pretty good idea of how to do both.
How important is the USF match for the team, considering that you are battling them for seeding in the conference tournament?
We have not talked about it a lot as a team, but we all know it is a big match. Seeding is very important in the WCC tournament if we want to finish as high as we can. We beat them the first time, but this match is even more important because the second match carries more weight in the seeding process.
You have moved up the all-time records list this season. When you finish your career here, will it be nice to look back and see your name etched in the SCU record books?
It is nice, but I can't think about it too much because I don't want it to distract me. I don't want to get caught up in it. I didn't think about it the past three years and I was fortunate enough to get into the top-10 so it is better if I don't think about it now. It will nice to look back on though.
What is your general assessment of the team at this point?
I think that we have made a lot of progress this year. Last season did not work out the way that we wanted, but we have done pretty well this year. It has been nice this year to be competitive against everyone and win some big matches. We have worked really hard this year and we have pushed each other and that has been big for us.