Kansas Netters Begin Big 12 Play on the Road at Iowa State, West Virginia
No. 35 Kansas women’s tennis will open Big 12 Conference play on the road at Iowa State and West Virginia this weekend. The Jayhawks will meet the Cyclones in Ames, Iowa, on Friday, March 14 at 3 p.m., at the Forker Tennis Courts. Kansas will then travel to Morgantown, W. Va., for the first time in program history for a match on Sunday, March 16 at 11 a.m.
THE SERIES: KANSAS VS. IOWA STATE
Kansas and Iowa State have met on 41 occasions dating back to Kansas’ first season in 1977. The Jayhawks hold a commanding 38-3 series lead over the Cyclones.
The pair met last in the first round of the 2013 Big 12 Championship, when KU rolled past ISU, 4-1 to advance to the second round of the tournament. Previously, Kansas hosted Iowa State on its Senior Night last season at the Jayhawk Tennis Center where it pulled out a 4-3 victory at its final home match. After winning the doubles point, Kansas won singles matches from three current Jayhawks. Senior Paulina Los defeated Meghan Cassens (6-4, 6-1), senior Dylan Windom topped Jenna Langhorst (2-2, ret.) and sophomore Maria Jose Cardona downed Ksenia Pronina (6-2, 7-5).
SCOUTING THE CYCLONES
The Cyclones tout an 8-5 record for the 2013-14 season and have been picked to place ninth in the Big 12 this season as voted by the conference coaches. Iowa State has taken on one ranked opponent this season in No. 72 Drake, and fell 5-2 at home.
ISU and KU both traveled to Houston in November for the Cougar Classic. Cardona met Pronina in the singles consolations. The pair battled to a tiebreaker, but Pronina pulled ahead in the deciding points and collected the win over Cardona (6-2, 1-6, 1-5).
In singles, Pronina is the Cyclones No. 1 player, having gone 12-10 this season. Samantha Budai sits at No. 2 and boasts a 13-7 record, including a seven-match win streak at the start of dual-match play.
In doubles, Pronina and Budai are the top team for the Cyclones. Together, the duo has gone 10-3 this season and has only lost two matches in dual play.
THE SERIES: KANSAS VS. WEST VIRGINIA
Before West Virginia entered the Big 12 Conference last season, KU and WVU had never met on the courts. In its first season, Kansas welcomed the Mountaineers to the Jayhawk Tennis Center where KU handed WVU a 6-1 loss. The win against WVU snapped a 21-match conference losing-streak for the Jayhawks.
During its first match up on April 20, 2013, Kansas took the doubles point despite Paulina Los and Maria Belen Luduena falling to WVU’s Ikttesh Chahal and Hailey Barrett at the No. 1 court. In singles, Luduena answered West Virginia with a hard-fought, 5-7, 6-1, 1-0 (10-8), win over Barrett on the first court.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS
The Mountaineers are 3-8 in dual play this season and are coming off a 6-1 victory over West Virginia State. WVU has faced one ranked foe in No. 74 Liberty, where they fell 6-1 at home. Kansas defeated Liberty at home, 5-2.
The Mountaineers are led by No. 1 singles player, Kaja Mrgole who is 7-4 this season. Oana Manole runs the No. 2 spot for WVU and has gone 6-4 on the year. Both players defeated their West Virginia State opponents in straight sets last weekend.
In doubles, Mrgole and Manole are the No. 1 duo for the Mountaineers. As a duo, the pair has gone 6-3.
KANSAS VS. OKLAHOMA STATE MATCH TO BE TELEVISED
For the first time in program history, a KU tennis match will be televised. The Jayhawks’ match against Big 12 foe Oklahoma State will appear on the Jayhawk Television Network on March 28 at 3:30 p.m. The match will be the first Big 12 contest the Jayhawks will host this season at the Jayhawk Tennis Center.
SENIOR STANDOUT: LOS MAKES IT COUNT
As her final year as a Jayhawk, Paulina Los has arisen an essential cog in the team’s success this season. The Gdansk, Poland-native is on a six-match winning streak. In dual action, Los is 10-1 with her only loss coming from Mariya Roncheva of Eastern Michigan.
In Kansas’ loss last weekend against No. 19 Tulsa, Los was the lone victor with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Renata Kuricova. Los also tallied key wins in matches against current-No. 21 Houston, then-No. 36 Nebraska and No. 31 Wichita State.
DOUBLE THE TROUBLE
The doubles competition has proven to be a deciding point for the Jayhawks. Kansas is perfect when it wins the doubles point, as all eight wins this season started with a win in the doubles competition. The team’s eight match season-opening win streak was accompanied by an eight-match doubles point streak. Both streaks ended when No. 38 Kentucky handed Kansas its first loss. In KU’s three losses this season, Kansas was unable to collect the doubles point.
KANSAS PICKED TO TIE K-STATE FOR 7TH IN BIG 12 PRESEASON POLL
Despite their top-50 ranking, the Jayhawks were picked to tie Kansas State for seventh place in the Big 12 preseason poll, as voted by the conference coaches.
THIS TIME, LAST YEAR
Kansas had a scheduled match against Oklahoma State for March 14, but due to weather, both schools officials decided to postpone the match. The Jayhawks instead played the No. 25 Cowgirls on March 27 where the Jayhawks fell, 6-1.
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