Although they are pretty far apart at the moment, the Baylor and GPS tennis teams' paths will most assuredly cross this weekend.
The two teams will both be in Louisville, Ky., for the DecoTurf national championships, which start today. The Lady Red Raiders won the 32-team tournament last season, defeating the Bruisers in the final. Coincidentally, the two teams matched up three more times last season, with Baylor winning all three, including a victory in the Division II-AA state championship match.
GPS will play Louisville Manuel today at 5, while Baylor, who received a bye due to a withdrawal, will face the winner of Notre Dame (Ky.) and Daviess County (Ky). Again this year, the two teams are in opposite brackets, with Blessed Trinity out of Georgia -- the top seed in the tournament -- receiving a bye in GPS's bracket. Baylor is the No. 2 seed and will play at 5 on Friday.
The teams, both on spring break this week, chose different ways to spend the time out of school. GPS took some time off and members went home, while Baylor's team is in Florida now on a "team bonding" trip.
Baylor lost two players, state singles champion Sanya Brkovic as well as Sarah Berchuck, but gained transfer Mary Walker Mixon from St. Pius X, a private Catholic school in Atlanta.
"We're excited about this team," Baylor coach Dustin Kane said. "They're a close-knit group, and they've worked all year focusing on training and conditioning to be match-ready. We have great team depth and we're excited.
"There are good teams all the way through this tournament. We were honored to go last season and we're happy to get a chance to go back."
The Bruisers return the majority of their lineup, also with a lot of depth. They'll sport no seniors this season.
"We've worked a lot on our doubles, and hope to see an improvement there," GPS coach Sue Bartlett said. "We've got new people in pretty much every spot, so we're going to be looking to see how the girls handle their new positions. This weekend will serve as a great bonding experience for us.
"We're not so worried about wins and losses, but more about how we perform in the individual games."