Kansas Tennis to Tussle With Top Teams in 2014 Spring Season Opener

LAWRENCE, Kan. Kansas women’s tennis opens the 2014 spring season this weekend, as it will take on two top-100 ranked teams at the Purdue Invitational. The invitational will be held on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Ind. at the Schwartz Tennis Center.

“We have the opportunity to play some other teams and look at different lineups,” said Head Coach Todd Chapman. “Also we have three new players who joined us at semester, so it’s an opportunity for them to feel like they fit in.”

The invitational format is a hidden dual, a simulation of a dual match where the concentration is one team’s success rather than an individual player’s, over the course of three days. The team will dual with No. 27 Purdue, No. 70 Louisville and Miami of Ohio in six singles and three doubles matches. Louisville’s doubles team of Julia Fellerhoff and Rebecca Shine are ranked No. 2 in the nation, while Purdue’s Mara Schmidt is tied for No. 110 in singles.

“We’re basically playing real matches,” said Chapman. “It’s another term for scrimmage. It allows us, within the rules, to play matches against other teams and to see lineup-wise the feel of a real match. We knew we were adding three new players at semester, so I think it will be huge for these three new girls to get the chance to take a deep breath and realize it’s not the end of the world this weekend.”

In addition to the fall season’s usual suspects (Maria Jose Cardona, Claire Dreyer, Paulina Los, Maria Belen Ludueña and Anastasija Trubica) three new Jayhawks will have the opportunity to participate in their first collegiate match. Caroline Henderson (Dallas, Texas), Morgan Barnhill (Austin, Texas /ATA College Prep) and Antonello Galeano Harrison (Asuncion, Paraguay/ Colegio San José) joined the Kansas squad in January and have been practicing with the team in hopes of finding a way into the Jayhawk lineup.

“Morgan’s a player who we’ve seen play for a long time,” said Chapman. “She’s got a very big serve and very good volleys. Antonello was just a lucky find for us. She is an international exchange student, was coming to KU anyway and after doing some research, and watching some videos, found that her level was pretty solid and someone who could help with depth. Caroline was someone who we had committed in August and knew she was coming. She’s been as excited as anyone to get here, so we’re excited to get her in the mix with everyone, too.”

The Jayhawks will open doubles play against Louisville on Friday morning, followed by match-action against Purdue. Later in the afternoon, Kansas will begin singles play with Miami of Ohio. On Saturday, Kansas will start with doubles against Miami of Ohio and finish with singles-play against Purdue and Louisville. The Jayhawks will conclude play on Sunday with a round of singles versus Miami of Ohio.

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