No. 27 Kansas closes out the regular season on the road
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas sophomore Anastasia Rychagova puts her No. 74 ranking, a 9-3 dual-play record and a 23-7 overall mark on the line as No. 27 Kansas hits the road for its final two regular-season matches against two nationally ranked Big 12 Conference opponents.
First, the Jayhawks will face No. 25 Texas (10-7, 4-3 Big 12) at 4 p.m., Friday, at the Edgar O. and Melanie A. Weller Tennis Center. Next, KU will stop in Waco to battle No. 18 Baylor (18-5, 5-2 Big 12) at 1 p.m., Sunday, at the Hurd Tennis Center.
“With the Big 12 Championship next week, the end of the regular season is just the end of the regular season whether we’re on the road or at home,” said head coach Todd Chapman. “I think there could be a positive because it gets us back into the mode of traveling.”
Texas leads the all-time series, 27-1, with the Jayhawks’ first-ever victory against the Longhorns coming last season with a 4-3 win. UT’s lineup features three-ranked singles players, including No. 40 Biance Turati, with an 8-6 dual-play record at the No. 1 spot; No. 72 Petra Granic, who has a combined 9-4 dual-play record at the No. 3 and 4 spots; and No. 79 Neda Koprcina who owns a 10-4 dual-play mark at the No. 2 spot. Granic is also ranked in doubles with two different teammates. At No. 53, she and Danielle Wagland own a 3-3 dual-play record at the No. 1 spot and at No. 84, Granic and Turati have a No. 1 spot record of 3-1.
“We’re focused on the opportunities to play two high-quality opponents on the road this weekend,” said Chapman. “It will allow us a chance to see where we’re at right now and what we need to work on fixing before the tournament. Good teams always expose weaknesses and there’s a positive to that.”
Baylor leads the overall series between the two schools, 21-6. Last season, Kansas snapped a 16-match losing streak that dated back to 2002, after defeating the Bears, 4-3, in the Big 12 Conference opener, and then topped them in postseason play, 4-2, to advance to the Big 12 Championship semifinals for the first time since 2002.
The Bears claim the No. 5-ranked singles player in Blair Shankle who owns a 13-2 dual-play record at the No. 1 spot and an overall mark of 23-4. Rhiann Newborn is the No. 116-ranked player and has seen action at the No. 1, 2 and 3 spots to tally a 12-4 dual-play record and a 17-6 overall record. Shankle is also ranked in doubles with Elizabeth Profit, coming in at the No. 48 spot with a 2-4 record at the No. 1 spot and a 9-6 overall record.
“We’re going into it this year knowing that we can play with those teams because we had success last year,” said Chapman. “We also know that they’re two different teams and so are we. We’re not going to sneak up on anyone and I’m sure they’ll be ready to play us and I expect high-quality matches.”
The two upcoming matches mark the 18th and 19th ranked opponents Rychagova has seen this season; she is 7-4 in those matches with six going unfinished.
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