Kansas Tennis to Face Houston, Regional Foe Saint Louis in Weekend Matches

March 4, 2011


Who: Houston (6-4) vs. Kansas (3-4)
When: Saturday, March 5 – 12 p.m.
Where: Jayhawk Tennis Facility (Lawrence, Kan.)

Who: Saint Louis (5-4) vs. Kansas (3-4)
When: Sunday, March 6 – 11 a.m.
Where: Jayhawk Tennis Facility (Lawrence, Kan.)

Media: Live Updates

Coming off of a weekend win over Denver, Kansas tennis looks to put together its first win streak of the season when it hosts Houston and Saint Louis this weekend at the Jayhawk Tennis Center. The Cougars will be up first with a 12 p.m., match Saturday. Fellow ITA Central Region member Saint Louis will visit the Jayhawks Sunday, at 11 a.m.

Last Time Out
The Jayhawks have split their last two weekend series, and will carry a 3-4 record into Saturday’s match against the Cougars. Last week, the Jayhawks had a rough go against UT-Arlington, before bouncing back with a solid win over Denver. Friday against the Mavericks, the Jayhawks fell 5-2 seeing singles wins from the bottom of the lineup in No. 5 Erin Wilbert and No. 6 Victoria Khanevskaya. The following day, the score was reversed as KU came out on top of Denver 5-2. An injury to a Denver player gave KU automatic wins in No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles, and KU immediately capitalized when Ekaterina Morozova and Dylan Windom won their third straight No. 1 doubles match to give their team the point. Windom won in the No. 5 match before Morozova and Paulina Los emerged victorious after long, three-set battles with victories in the Nos. 1 and 3 spots.

Jayhawk Leaders
Four Jayhawk starters currently own four singles wins, including Khanevskaya and Wilbert, who have each lost only once this spring. The combination of junior Morozova and freshman Windom has been effective at the top of the doubles lineup, as the duo has opened up to a team-leading 5-2 start.

Scouting the Cougars
Houston (6-4) has been well-tested this season. The Cougars come into Saturday’s match in the midst of a nine-match road stretch and faced top opponents in No. 3 Baylor and No. 48 Rice earlier in the season. Although the lineups have varied throughout the season, singles have remained steady. Houston has at least six wins in four of the six positions. In doubles play, two teams have combined for a 7-3 record in the leadoff position. Bryony Hunter and Giorgia Pazzan have won three straight en route to a 4-1 record at top spot. However, the Nos. 2 and 3 spots have been less predictable, as a total of eight teams have combined to go 4-6 in the second slot. Kansas is 1-2 all-time against the Cougars and last faced them in 2001.

Scouting the Billikens
Saint Louis (5-2) will be a familiar challenge for KU, as several Billikens faced the Jayhawks in two fall events. Saint Louis earned the edge in the fall, going 7-4 in singles play and 4-2 in doubles in the KU Invitational I and the ITA Central Regional Championship. However, it’s Kansas that has historically dominated the all-time series, as the Jayhawks are a perfect 6-0 against SLU. The Billikens are led by Hailee Elmore, a graduate student who turned to tennis after wrapping up a track and field career at Indiana. The veteran has led her team in both singles and doubles wins and winning percentage in each of the past three seasons, and is the reigning Atlantic 10 Most Outstanding Player. Currently ranked No. 20 in the ITA Central Region Rankings, Elmore went 2-1 against KU in both singles and doubles in fall tournament action. Teaming with Jenny Nalepa in the KU Invitational I, Elmore swept KU in doubles. A month later, Erin Wilbert and Ekaterina Morozova avenged the losses in Fayetteville, Ark., a when they eliminated Elmore and younger sister Mia from contention in ITA Regionals, downing the duo 8-2 in the opening round.

Around the Big 12
Nebraska’s 8-1 record currently puts the Cornhuskers at the top of the Big 12 Conference standings. Nebraska joins Kansas State (7-1), Baylor (6-1) and Missouri (5-1) as the only one-loss teams, and currently occupy the top four spots in the standings. However, the Bears leads the Big 12 in the Campbell’s ITA College Tennis Rankings at No. 7 this week. The reigning Big 12 champs six-years over lead the eight Big 12 teams in the rankings. Oklahoma checks in at No. 19, followed by No. 24 Texas, No. 32 Texas A&M, No. 36 Nebraska, No. 45 Kansas State, No. 54 Texas Tech and No. 58 Missouri.