The Lady Vols tennis team kicked off team play last weekend, splitting their two matches in Clemson, S.C., at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend.

The weekend started with a 4-3 victory over Purdue but finished with a loss to Clemson, 4-0.

"It was a really good team win for us on Saturday against Purdue," junior Joanna Henderson said. "They are a top 25 team. It was a big team effort all around, and I'm just really proud of the way the girls came out and performed on Saturday.

"And then Sunday, we took a step up in competition with Clemson; that gives us a lot to learn from and work on this week."

Co-head coach Mike Patrick talked about the team's youth in his comments about the loss.

"We're young," Patrick said. "We have a lot of desire. We try hard. We just have to handle the big moments a little bit better.

"We have to play the big points and the big parts of the match better and we will as time goes on."

Despite the loss, Henderson said the team is aware of ways they can improve.

"Just being aggressive and stepping up and being relaxed at the same time," Henderson said. "They (Clemson) are an experienced team and we have a lot of young players right now. I think it was a good experience to see where we should be."

Patrick added: "We got better from Saturday to Sunday. The nerves started calming down just a little bit but (they are) still not perfect yet. It's like landing an airplane on an aircraft carrier for the first time. It's a little wobbly coming in.

"They will get better. The more dual-match experience they get, the tougher we will be."

At this early stage of the season after two matches, the team has yet to win a doubles point.

"We're trying to find the right teams at the moment," Henderson said when asked what was lacking in that area of play. "We'll get there eventually, but it's just focusing everyday in practice and implementing the things from practice to the matches is what we need to focus on now."

Patrick cited inexperience as the reason for struggling in doubles play so far this season.

"We have five players starting in doubles who didn't play there for us last year," Patrick said. "It just takes time to get up to speed. We're still thinking too much and not reacting and dictating what's going on.

"We have a ways to go, but we need to get every bit out of practice and our intensity level needs to be really high."

And while snow was falling outside, tennis practice was still marching forward indoors Tuesday.

Patrick mentioned that focus in practice would go a long way to improve the team's performance.

"It's snowing outside," Patrick said. "They're thinking about a million things, about whether class is canceled. But we need to get better on the task at hand and not be worried about the stuff outside of practice."

Tennessee returns to the court Sunday at 11 a.m. to take on Michigan at the Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center.

"They're a top 15 school," Henderson said. "We play them every year. It's another good opportunity for us to come in and work on the things that we've been focusing on this week and just keep improving everyday."