Kansas Tennis Travels South for a Pair of Weekend Matches
Unbeaten 60th-ranked Kansas women’s tennis will head out on the road to meet Eastern Kentucky and No. 38 Kentucky this weekend. The Jayhawks will travel to Richmond, Ky., on Friday Feb. 21 to take on the Colonels in the Greg Adams Tennis Center then head to Lexington, Ky,. the following day to take on the Wildcats at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Complex.
THE SERIES: KANSAS VS. EASTERN KENTUCKY
Kansas currently leads the series against Eastern Kentucky (3-4, 0-0 Ohio Valley) with a win in the pair’s one and only match up. The meeting took place in Richmond, Ky., on Feb. 24, 2008 after the Jayhawks suffered defeat at the hands of Kentucky the day before. The Colonels took the doubles point from KU, but the Jayhawks retaliated with a sweep in singles, giving KU a 6-1 win.
SCOUTING THE COLONELS
The Colonels have played two top-50 teams this season. EKU fell to No. 40 Indiana in Bloomington, Ind., and was blanked by No. 38 Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. Eastern Kentucky started off the year with a two-match win streak, defeating both University of the Cumberlands and IUPUI, 7-0.
Amandine Faouzi is the Colonels No. 1 singles player and touts an overall 7-9 record, including a 3-4 mark in dual play.Kristina Labeja plays No. 2 for EKU and sports a 10-6 record. Labeja has an impressive 5-1 record as Eastern Kentucky’s No. 2 player, including a three-match win-streak.
In doubles, the Colonels tandem of Saioa Oscoz and Milena Poffo have gone 2-1 at the No. 1 spot, while Melissa Gerritsen and Kristina Labeja are 2-0 at No. 2.
THE SERIES: KANSAS VS. KENTUCKY
Kansas and Kentucky (9-2, 0-0 SEC) have met on the court three times with UK leading the series, 2-1. In their last meeting on Feb. 23, 2008, the then-No. 22 Wildcats rolled the Jayhawks, 6-1. Kentucky swept KU in the doubles competition to snag the doubles point. In singles, the lone KU win came from Kansas’ Lauren Hommell at No. 6 who won by default over UK’s Whitney Spencer.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
The No. 36 Kentucky Wildcats are led by No. 56 Nadia Ravita, who knocked off two ranked opponents in singles last week. The Wildcats’ two losses came from No. 36 Indiana (L, 4-3) and then-No. 10 Duke (L, 4-0), who has since moved into the No. 1 position. After losing to the Blue Devils, the Wildcats went on a seven-match run.
In singles, Ravita has an 11-5 record, and is 4-0 in dual matches. Ravita has knocked off No. 65 Katie Klycek (Indiana) and No. 78 Gabriella De Santis (Ohio State) in team matches. Aldila Sutjiadi is the Wildcat’s No. 2 player with an overall 12-5 record, and has gone 5-2 in dual play. Most recently, Sutjiadi suffered a 6-2, 7-5 loss from No. 93 Carolyn Chupa of Indiana.
In doubles, Ravita and Sutjiadi make up the No. 2 doubles team, boasting a 17-4 overall singles record this season, including a win over Indiana’s No. 44 doubles tandem of Kayla Fujimoto and Sophie Garre. Kentucky’s No. 1 doubles team consists of Caitlin McGraw and CeCe Witten, a team with a 6-1 record this season. Their one loss came from Karlyn Timko and Rachael Morales of Marshall University.
This season, KU is tied with the 1991-92 and 2011-12 season with a seven-match season opening win-streak. If KU wins one more match, the team will be tied with the 1977-78 season for eight-straight unbeaten matches to open the season. The all-time best opening streak happened in KU’s inagural 1977 season when the Jayhawks opened the year with an 11-0 run. If KU wins the match against Eastern Kentucky, it will have the best opening in 39 years and will be tied for the second best opening season streak in Kansas tennis history.
THEY LIKE A CHALLENGE
Outside of the Big 12, Kansas will tussle with three more ranked non-conference foes in one of the toughest schedules in the program’s history. Kansas has already downed two ranked opponents in then-No. 36 Nebraska (Jan. 31) and No. 66 Houston (Feb. 14). Kansas defeated both Nebraska and Houston on the road, as KU has yet to take on a ranked team on its home court. This weekend Kansas travels to No. 38 Kentucky. The Jayhawks will welcome their first ranked opponent the following weekend with No. 36 Wichita State on Feb. 28. Within the Big 12, there are currently seven ranked opponents.
No. 36 Nebraska W, 4-3
No. 66 Houston W, 4-3
No. 54 Wichita State Feb. 28
No. 23 Tulsa March 8
No. 37 Indiana March 20
THIS TIME, LAST YEAR
The Jayhawks had a scheduled match to meet the Kentucky Wildcats on Feb. 21, 2013 at the Jayhawk Tennis Center. Following a heavy snow storm, Unviversity of Kansas officialls cancelled classes and subsequently the match between the Wildcats and Jayhawks was called off. The team resumed play two days later with a match at home against Drake. The Jayhawks made a come-from-behind, 5-2, victory over the Bulldogs in singles play to improve thier record to 4-2.
STREAKS FOR WEEKS
To accompany the team’s seven-match run, Jayhawk senior Claire Dreyer is on her own six-match swing. Dreyer is now 12-3 in the 2013-14 season, including a tiebreaker-win over Maike Zeppernickof No. 36 Nebraska. Dreyer also defeated No. 66 Houston’s Charlotte Phillips, 6-3, 6-3 to help the Jayhawks top the Cougars on Feb. 14.
JAYHAWKS CLIMB IN THE RANKINGS
KU made a jump in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s team top-75 this week. The Jayhawks jumped from No. 70 to No. 60, the highest ranking for the Jayhawks in seven years. The last time the Jayhawks were ranked as high as 60 was when the Jayhawks debuted in the 2007 season at No. 59 on the ITA Top-75. That was the only time the program was ranked that season. The highest ranking for Kansas in a weekly ranking was No. 52 in 2001. Week-by-week rankings were unavailable before 2000 and ITA ranked only at the end of the season.
STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM, NOW WE’RE…
Last season, the Jayhawks finished their dual match season with an 11-9 record, and placed eigth in the conference. This season, Kansas women’s tennis is more than halfway to besting its wins from last season. The programs 7-0 mark places the Jayhawks on the top of the Big 12 with the highest winning percentage in early pre-conference matches.
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