Junior Kelsey Haviland is blogging for the Buckeyes as they travel to Tennessee for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The assistant captain and her teammates face No. 27 SMU Monday at 10 a.m. after dropping a 6-1 decision to the No. 12 Volunteers Sunday evening.

Day 2
The team had the opportunity today to sleep in since our match against Tennessee wasn’t until 2 p.m. The girls were on their own for breakfast this morning. Most of us made our way to the buffet around 8:30 a.m. While some retreated back to their rooms, a few of us ventured to the Goodfriend Tennis Center to scout the dual match between Southern Methodist University and Mississippi that took place at 10 a.m.

The bus met the team back at the hotel around 11:45 a.m. to take us to McAlister’s Deli (Paloma Escobedo’s favorite!) for a light lunch before the big match. We arrived back at the tennis center in time to see Mississippi narrowly escaping with a 4-3 win over SMU. After a quick warm up, we took the court against a talented Tennessee team with the home court advantage. All three doubles teams were in the match early, and it was a hard fought battle when we closely lost the first point.

With the crowd and momentum on their side, Tennessee continued to separate themselves with a 6-1 win over the Buckeyes. Sophomore Fidan Manashirova, scored the lone point for us at the 6th position winning 7-6 6-1, saving two set points in the first set. After the match, we kept our heads up knowing there is still more tennis to be played tomorrow. We then headed back to the hotel while the staff picked up our dinner that consisted of six different pizza orders. Tomorrow we have an early day. We will meet at breakfast at 7:45 a.m. and take on Southern Methodist University at 10 a.m. As always, Go Bucks!

Day 1
The team started the day by meeting at the Varsity Tennis Center at 10:45 a.m. this morning. As we loaded the bus, the girls made sure to run inside and cheer on the Buckeye men’s team as they battled against William & Mary for the doubles point in the first round of the National Team Indoor Qualifier. After loading the bags for 13 people in our 40 person passenger bus, we surprised our team manager Carrie Smith with a big birthday cake! To the disappointment of Kelsey Becker, we decided to wait until the evening to indulge ourselves.

The six-hour bus ride to Tennessee seemed to go by quickly. I’m not sure how many teams can brag about Wi-Fi and movies on their buses. Times have definitely changed! I told myself (I’m sure I wasn’t alone) the riding time would be the perfect opportunity to get ahead on homework assignments, but Shrek 2 seemed much more interesting.

After a couple movies and a stop for food, we finally arrived in Knoxville around 5 p.m. As we got off the bus in our boots and varsity jackets, we realized that we left the snow and ice behind in Ohio and 60 degree was waiting to greet us. We took advantage of the weather and walked to a nearby restaurant to eat dinner before our night practice. While walking to the restaurant we we’re greeted with numerous “Go Bucks!” from fans. It’s a great feeling to know that there are Buckeyes all around the country!

After a nice meal, we headed for the University of Tennessee Varsity Tennis Center. Southern Methodist and Mississippi were finishing up their practices just in time for us to get on the court at 7:30. After a solid hour and a half hit, we called it a day. We headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready for bed. Of course, nobody forgot about the cake waiting for us. Now we’re looking ahead to tomorrow’s match against the University of Tennessee. Until then… GO BUCKS!