KU netters set to host Oregon, William & Mary
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas tennis team received votes in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) top-25 poll this week and the Jayhawks have a great opportunity to climb the rankings this weekend, as KU hosts No. T24 Oregon and William & Mary at the Jayhawk Tennis Center at Rock Chalk Park.
The Jayhawks (2-2) will face No. T24 Oregon (5-2) Friday at 3 p.m., in the first meeting between the two programs. Sunday at noon, KU will face off against William & Mary, which will be televised on the Jayhawk Television Network. The Tribe leads the overall series 4-3, but Kansas earned a 4-2 victory in Williamsburg, Virginia last season.
Riding a two-match win streak, the Jayhawks have not competed for 12 days and are still looking for their first doubles point of the season. Junior Anastasia Rychagova is currently ranked No. 2 nationally in singles and will lead the way for the Jayhawks. Rychagova owns a 12-2 record for the season. Sophomore Maria Toren Ribes has a perfect 4-0 mark in dual matches for the Jayhawks this season with a pair of victories at both No. 4 and No. 5 singles.
“We need to be better doubles for sure, and we have to be the tougher team in both matches,” said Kansas head coach Todd Chapman about what the Jayhawks will need to do in these two matches to be successful. “We are going to have to face how we handle adversity, how we handle tough situations and not allow good reasons to become good excuses on why we can’t be successful. We are going to have to be solution minded and focus on the things we can control. If we can do that, I think we will have a great chance to be successful this weekend.”
The Ducks cracked the top-25 this past week after posting a 4-3 victory over then-No. 25 Northwestern. Oregon’s two losses on the season have come against a pair of top-10 ranked teams (No. 6 Pepperdine and No. 7 Georgia Tech). Senior Alyssa Tobita and junior Shweta Sangwan currently rank as the No. 10 doubles team in the nation. The tandem is 12-5 overall, but has posted a 3-4 mark in dual matches.
“From what we know, (Oregon) plays very good doubles,” Chapman said. “We know that they are going to play with a lot of passion and enthusiasm and will compete really hard. There are couple of girls on their team who we recruited pretty heavily, so we know what type of competitors they are. We know our work is going to be cut out for us. They are not going to be a team that goes away at all.”
William & Mary (5-3), which has been to 18 of the last 23 NCAA Tournaments, including 22 overall, comes to Lawrence with a pair of ranked singles players. No. 68 nationally, sophomore Rosie Cheng enters with a 10-7 overall record and played at No. 1 singles in the Tribe’s 4-3 win over Maryland. Junior Clara Tanielian, playing at No. 2 singles, is ranked No. 120 and has recorded a 13-8 mark on the year.
“William & Mary is a perennial NCAA Tournament team with a lot of rich tradition and history,” Chapman said. “We know they are going to give us a great match. They are a very balanced team from what we can tell. They have a lot of their players back and we haven’t had much of a (roster) change either, so it is going to be a lot of the same players back on the court.”
After playing four dual matches in a 14-day span, the Jayhawks have been left to only practice since February 3.
“From the standpoint of training our doubles, it has been good (having that) time off because we had a great week of training last week,” Chapman said. “How that transitions into our play this weekend? We will see. Hopefully the girls are hungry, it feels like we have been off for longer than we have.”
Both matches will have live streaming and scoring available on KUAthletics.com.
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