Pruett Emerging on Cowgirl Tennis Team

March 15, 1999

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

The 1998-99 women's tennis season has seen sophomore Lisa Pruett become a player that can be counted on to represent the University of Wyoming well, no matter who the opponent. Pruett is currently tied for the team lead in singles victories this year, with 12 at her #4 position, and has lost several other matches only after taking her opponent to three sets. She is also playing strong doubles with partner Sarah Kay at the #1 spot. The bottom line is that no matter who UW is playing, wherever Lisa Pruett's name appears in the lineup, head coach Kilmeny Waterman can be assured that she will receive a strong performance from that position.

"Lisa competed this last summer and has definitely improved her consistency and quickness,"quotes Waterman. "She has moved up a level since last year and will definitely suprise many opponents this spring."

Despite her strong play so far this season Lisa is not satisfied with where her game is at and sees room for improvement. "I used to be a very aggressive player and in at the net all the time," says Pruett. "Since I've been here I haven't been as aggressive but I'm trying to get back to being that type of player. There is little between me winning more matches and I know it is all mental. I know that is what I need to work on and I am getting better at it."

An example of Pruett's season thus far was her performance at the Central Region Rolex Tournament, which was held last November 4-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Pruett had to play her way through the qualifying draw by winning two matches to earn a spot in the main draw. Once in the main draw, she lost her opening match to New Mexico's Aimee Hites, before coming back strong in the consolation round to win two matches over Tulsa's Monica Poveda, 6-2, 6-3, and Oklahoma's Stephanie Sajbert, 6-4, 7-6(2), and then finally falling to Marketa Chmelova of Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals. Lisa finished the tournament with a 4-2 singles record. Pruett and doubles partner Sarah Kay also got a good win for UW in the doubles main draw by defeating Lynn and Shelby of Air Force in the first round.

Pruett hails from Alexandria, Virginia, where she graduated from Annadale High School. Besides lettering four years in tennis in high school, Lisa was also a four-year letterwinner on the basketball team. As a junior player, Pruett was a two-time All-Region selection and was ranked as high as third in the state in her age group in both doubles and singles. Born January 24, 1979, she is one of two children of Doug and Nancy Pruett.

"I started playing tennis when I was two. Everyone in my family plays so we play a lot of doubles together. I play every day when I'm home. My younger brother is looking at schools right now to play tennis. I played a bunch of different sports when I was younger, but eventually narrowed it down to basketball and tennis. It was tough to decide which one I wanted to continue with, but I had more opportunities in tennis."

Recruited out of high school to play tennis, Lisa chose Wyoming over Iowa State, St. Louis, West Virginia and James Madison.

"I really didn't have any idea where I wanted to go play college tennis. But I liked the girls on the team and the coach (Waterman) here the best, so that's why I decided to come. It really helps a lot how well we all get along on the team. We're together all the time and I live with Sarah (Kay). My best friends are on the team. Since we travel together all the time its good that we get along."

There probably aren't too many college sports teams in the nation that have only one home event during a season. But, that is the case with the University of Wyoming women's tennis team. During the course of the 1998-99 college tennis season, the Cowgirls have only one home dual match, Sunday, April 18, versus Nothern Colorado at noon. The team has the seemingly unpleasant schedule of five tournaments and 20 dual matches on the road.

"I like traveling and going places, but it's tough to miss that much school and have to make it up," says Pruett of the Cowgirl's schedule.

During her freshman season Pruett was 10-17 in singles, mainly at the #3 position and had a 7-17 doubles record with several partners. She got some good wins in her first look at college tennis and showed she will be a force for Wyoming in the future. Lisa won five straight singles matches prior to the 1998 WAC Tournament.

"This year is not much different from last year, except that I'm not as nervous. I played in a lot of tournaments as a junior player against very good players, and the biggest difference so far at the college level is all the foreign girls."

So as the 1998-99 tennis season winds toward the 1999 WAC Tournament look for Lisa Pruett to continue to become more confident in herself and her game. Pruett should provide the Cowgirls with consistent play as UW looks to improve on their finish at the WAC Tournament. The big-city girl from Virginia will be a huge part of the University of Wyoming womens tennis team for several years to come.

By Aaron Voos

UW Sports Information