The Wisconsin women’s tennis team will face its first test of the season Friday when four players take on an elite talent pool in Cary, N.C., for the Duke Invitational.Juniors Alaina Trgovich and Aleksandra Markovic will join sophomore Hannah Berner and freshman Jenny Hois to represent the Badgers in their fall opener.“The four girls that are going are the girls that have performed the best this fall for our team,” captain Jessica Seyferth said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to get wins over ranked opponents.”The team will look to improve on its 3-7 record last year when the Badgers finished ninth in the Big Ten and were eliminated in the second round of the conference tournament.According to Seyferth, finishing in the top five of the Big Ten is a major goal for Wisconsin heading into the season.While Seyferth added the Badgers were close to achieving this goal last year, it will not come easily, as eight of the Big Ten teams finished the previous season ranked in the top 75.The Duke Invitational will also serve as a chance for the newcomer, Hois, to seek her first collegiate win when she faces Duke’s Rachel Kahan in the singles bracket at 3 p.m. Friday.Despite her inexperience, Seyferth said Hois is a tough competitor who shows great poise on the court and should not let nervousness inhibit her performance.“Playing in such a strong tournament early will gauge where we’re at, where we need to be and what we need to work on for the fall,” Seyferth said.The team’s ability to stay aggressive when closing out games and believe in themselves will be keys to success in the tournament, Seyferth added.UW will face the challenge of rebuilding a young team that features four new freshmen and just one senior.“Everyone works hard already, so I think it’s about pushing ourselves even more and having confidence and trust in each other as a team,” Seyferth said.This year’s Wisconsin team has 11 players, which is larger than teams from the past three seasons. Seyferth said these additional players will give the team more options in its single and doubles lineups, especially in case of injury.The invitational tournaments during the fall season, like Friday’s Duke Invitational, count for individual rankings, but not the team’s overall record. However, strong performances against ranked opponents in these tournaments will improve UW’s reputation for the start of the season in January.Additionally, players from Purdue and Illinois will be represented in Friday’s tournament, so the Badgers can get a glimpse of what they will be facing during Big Ten play.The Duke Invitational will feature five top 25 teams including UNC (3), Northwestern (7), Duke (9), Texas (16) and Illinois (24).Even though the Badgers face highly competitive, ranked competition this weekend, Seyferth said an upset is not out of reach. The Badgers experienced many ranked opponents last year, highlighted by Hannah Berner’s win over Duke.Seyferth will not compete in the Duke Invitational due to injury. She is working to rehabilitate her injured posterior tibial tendon this fall so that she can be fully recovered for the team’s home opener against Green Bay Jan. 16.The Badgers begin their season Friday at the Duke Invitational.
Damien Duff will join the Shamrock Rovers coaching staff for the rest of the season.The 37-year-old joins the first team as a coach and will assist interim manager Stephen Bradley.Duff made nine appearances for the club last year before retiring as a player. Meanwhile, Limerick sealed their place in the EA Sports cup final with a 1-0 win over Derry in the Brandywell last night.Stephen Kenny with the only goal as the first division leaders claimed a huge scalp.They’ll play Shamrock Rovers or St Pats in the final. In the SSE Airtricity league Premier Division St Pats overcame Wexford Youths 1-0 at Ferrycarraig Park.Ian Bermingham got the goal after 26 minutes. The Lilywhites trail 1-0 going into the match in Tallaght stadium.The game can’t be hosted at Oriel Park as it does not meet the standard for this stage of the competition.Kick- is at 8pm.