No. 16 Kansas to begin dual play by hosting No. 19 Northwestern
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A top-25 test awaits the Kansas tennis team this weekend as it opens its spring dual season on Sunday. The No. 16-ranked Jayhawks will welcome the Northwestern Wildcats, who are ranked No. 19 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) poll, for a noon match at The Jayhawk Tennis Center at Rock Chalk Park.
Last weekend, seven of the eight student-athletes on the Kansas roster competed in the Orlando Invitational to kick off the spring portion of their schedule. The Jayhawks were successful throughout the tournament against singles players and doubles teams from NC State, Rice and Texas Tech at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus.
The highlight of the tournament for Kansas came from sophomore Plobrung Plipuech, who went undefeated at 4-0 (2-0 in singles and 2-0 in doubles) and, for her efforts, was named the Big 12 Women’s Tennis Player of the Week on Jan. 15.
The Jayhawks have three nationally-ranked players, all of whom are seniors: No. 34 Janet Koch, No. 70 Nina Khmelnitckaia and No. 109 Anastasia Rychagova.
In addition, the ITA has named two of KU’s doubles teams to its list of the top 60 in the nation. After a stellar summer and fall competing together and winning numerous prestigious titles, Koch and Khmelnitckaia come in at No. 5. Additionally, Rychagova teams up with freshman Sonia Smagina to comprise the No. 27-ranked tandem in the country heading into the spring.
Northwestern will come to Lawrence with a 1-0 record on the season after besting UIC on Friday, Jan. 18, by a score of 7-0. Last spring, the Wildcats finished 23-6 overall and advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Northwestern went undefeated in Big Ten play for the first time since 2009 and claimed its 13th regular-season conference title under head coach Claire Pollard. Freshman Clarissa Hand is the lone Wildcat ranked by the ITA in singles (No. 100 following the fall season). The ITA ranks sophomore Caroline Pozo and graduate transfer Carol Finke the No. 24 doubles team in the country.
“Northwestern is one of the perennial powers in women’s college tennis. So, we will definitely have our hands full and be in a tough battle on Sunday,” Kansas head coach Todd Chapman said. “We look forward to measuring ourselves against such a quality opponent and seeing where we stack up early in the season. The team has worked hard the last two weeks in preparation for the season opener, so we feel as prepared as you can be for the first match of the year.”
Live scoring for Sunday’s match will be available on KUAthletics.com and updates can be found throughout the day on KU tennis’ social media platforms.
KUAthletics.com: The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.