No. 14 Kansas takes on two ranked opponents in Las Vegas
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Sophomore Anastasia Rychagova brings her No. 59 ranking, an 8-1 spring singles record and a three-match win streak to No. 14 Kansas’ two road matches this weekend against two nationally ranked teams at the Frank and Vicki Fertitta Tennis Complex in Las Vegas.
The Jayhawks enter the weekend with a 5-2 record with three of their victories over now-ranked opponents, including No. 16 North Carolina State, No. 39 William & Mary and No. 35 Wichita State. Kansas has the opportunity to build its resume at No. 33 UNLV Friday and No. 24 Tennessee, in a neutral site match, Saturday. Both matches are schedule for 12 p.m., CT.
Including the upcoming matches against UNLV (6-1) and Tennessee (11-1), of the nine dual matches, the Jayhawks will have faced seven teams ranked in the top-40 nationally.
“We’ve got two great opportunities this weekend against two really good teams,” said head coach Todd Chapman. “It’s a situation where on back-to-back days we’re going to play two tough opponents. It’s a good test for our team to see where we’re at. Whether we have success or face adversity, we’re going to have to respond the following day. I’m looking forward to seeing how we handle that this early in the season.”
The Jayhawks will look for that success at the top of their lineup. Rychagova owns a 7-2 record against ranked opponents this season, while playing at No. 1 singles, and appears to have the opportunity to improve that mark as she will likely face UNLV’s No. 31 singles player, Carol Zi Yang and Tennessee’s Brittany Lindl, who sits at No. 93. In dual play, Yang is 5-0 on the year, while Lindl brings a 5-1 mark.
“I think seven matches into the season right now, I’d say we’re in a pretty good place, a pretty good spot as a team,” said Chapman. “The exciting part is I don’t think we’ve fully come together from the standpoint of playing our best tennis as a unit yet. We’ve had days where certain players or certain doubles teams have (played their best tennis), but not necessarily everyone gelling together and being consistent as a group.
“We’ve still been able to find success, but the exciting part is our best tennis is yet to come. If we continue to work hard and the girls continue to believe in the process, we’re going to continue to get better as the season goes on.”
Kansas and UNLV last faced each other in the spring of 2015, in a close match with the Rebels coming out on top, 4-3. UNLV leads the all-time series, 3-1, and owns a three-match win streak. Both KU and UNLV faced Arkansas this season. The Jayhawks fell 4-3 to the Razorbacks, while UNLV claimed a 4-1 win.
On Saturday, Kansas and Tennessee will meet on the court for the first time since 1997, when the Jayhawks snapped the Volunteers three-match series win streak. Tennessee leads the overall series, 3-1.
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