Kansas Welcomes Southern Neighbors, No. 23 Oklahoma State, No.18 Oklahoma
47th-ranked Kansas women’s tennis returns home to the Jayhawk Tennis Center to host No. 23 Oklahoma State and No. 18 Oklahoma. The Jayhawks will take on the Cowgirls on March 28 at 3:30 on JTV/ESPN3 and the Sooners March 30 at noon.
Kansas’ match against Oklahoma State will be broadcasted on Jayhawk Television Network for Kansas viewers and ESPN3 in all other states. The match marks the first televised match for the Jayhawks.
LAST TIME OUT
Kansas returns home to Lawrence, Kan., after embarking on a ten-day road trip from Iowa State to West Virginia, ending with two matches in Orlando, Fla.
At the University of Central Florida Tennis Complex, Kansas played the No. 31 Indiana Hoosiers. The Jayhawks claimed the doubles point with wins on courts two and three, but Kansas couldn’t hold the lead. Indiana came out blazing, winning five of the six courts. Kansas’ lone win came from Paulina Los on court four. The Hoosiers came out on top, 5-2.
The following day, Kansas played its host, Central Florida. The Jayhawks swiftly defeated the Knights on court one and two in doubles, collecting the early point. KU won three singles matches on courts two, three and four to take the match, 4-3.
THE SERIES: KANSAS VS. OKLAHOMA STATE
No. 23 Oklahoma State leads the all-time series against Kansas, 26-16. The Cowgirls are on a four-match winning streak against the Jayhawks. The last time KU beat OSU was in 2009, when the Jayhawks won, 4-3 in Stillwater, Okla.
The last meeting came a year ago when Kansas traveled to Stillwater and the then 25th-ranked Cowgirls handed the then 74th-ranked Jayhawks a 6-1 loss.
Maria Jose Cardona took the lone win for the Jayhawks at No. 1 singles, topping No. 60 Malike Rose in a tiebreaker (6-4, 3-6, 1-0 [10-8]).
SCOUTING THE COWGIRLS
Oklahoma State (8-5, 2-0) sits with three other Big 12 teams with a perfect conference record. The Cowgirls have downed the No. 57 TCU Horned Frogs, 5-2 and No. 32 Texas Tech, 4-3.
The Cowgirls are led by this week’s Big 12 Player of the Week, No. 83 Viktoriya Lushkova. Lushkova is the team’s No. 1 singles player and has gone 9-0 at the top spot. In addition to her nine-match win streak, Lushkova has gone 12-1 since joining the team this spring. Megan McCray is OSU’s No. 2 singles player and is 18-8 this season and 5-4 at No. 2 singles.
Lushkova has gone 8-1 at No. 1 doubles when paired with Kanyapat Narattana. The duo has gone 1-1 in Big 12 play and 8-1 this season and stand at No. 37 on the ITA doubles chart. Maria Alvarez and Carla Rur Mari round out the Cowgirl doubles at No. 2 and tout a 5-1 record this season.
THE SERIES: KANSAS VS. OKLAHOMA
Despite losing its last five dual matches, Kansas leads No. 18 Oklahoma in the series, 21-19. KU’s last win over the Sooners came in 2009 when Kansas beat OU, 5-2, in Norman, Okla.
In their last meeting on March 8, 2013, Kansas traveled to the Gregg Wadley Indoor Tennis Pavilion and lost to the No. 40 Sooners. The Sooners won two out of the three courts in doubles to snag the doubles point, before moving onto the singles competition. Kansas was able to claim two points in singles as Maria Belen Ludueña defeated Whitney Ritchie (6-4, 7-6) and Anastasija Trubica defeated Zita Engbroks (6-2, 7-6).
Last fall, Kansas and Oklahoma both travelled to the ITA Central Regionals, hosted by the Sooners in Norman. KU’s Maria Jose Cardona and Ludueña fell to OU’s Engbroks and Hermon Brhane, 8-4. Ludueña bounced back in singles, defeating Oklahoma’s Abbi Melrose, 6-4, 6-3. Paulina Los dropped a tough match to Whitney Wofford in a tiebreaker, 3-6, 6-3, (10-5).
SCOUTING THE SOONERS
The Sooners have gone 11-3 on the season, including a 1-1 record in Big 12 play. Oklahoma dropped its conference opener to No. 32 Texas Tech at home, 5-2. The Sooners bounced back with a 5-2 win over No. 57 TCU two days later.
Brhane plays No. 1 for the Sooners, boasting a 9-4 overall record, including a 6-3 record on the first court. No. 116 Ritchie plays No. 2 for Oklahoma, touting a convincing 12-1 record in singles, and has gone 9-0 on the second court.
Ritchie and partner Mia Lancaster play No. 1 doubles and have gone 8-4 this spring. The pair is ranked No. 64 on the ITA doubles chart.
SENIOR STANDOUT: LOS MAKES IT COUNT
In her final year as a Jayhawk, Paulina Los has become an essential cog in the team’s success this season. The Gdansk, Poland native is on a ten-match winning streak. In dual action, Los is 13-1. Her only loss came from Mariya Roncheva of Eastern Michigan.
Los was has been the only singles victor in multiple matches this season, including Kansas’ match against No. 31 Indiana on March 20. Los defeated IU’s Alecia Kauss, 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (7). Los also notched a win over Cortney Cesarini of Central Florida on March 21, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.
RED HOT CHILE PEPPERS
The two natives of Chile, sophomore Maria Jose Cardona (Santiago, Chile) and junior Maria Belen Ludueña (Curicó, Chile), are on a five-match doubles winning streak that began with a win in Kansas’ match against then-No. 49 Wichita State. The tandem has gone 17-6 when paired together this season, and are 12-2 in dual play this season.
Kansas tennis alum, Courtney Steinbock returns to the Sunflower State as Oklahoma State’s women’s tennis assistant coach. Steinbock graduated from KU in 2005 and played for the Jayhawks alongside her twin sister, Kristen Steinbock. Steinbock was named to the All-Big 12 First Team in 2003. After graduation, Steinbock remained for two years as the program’s volunteer women’s assistant coach.
JAYHAWKS UNDEFEATED IN BIG 12 PLAY
Kansas stands atop the Big 12 rankings with three other conference schools boasting undefeated Big 12 marks. Kansas (2-0), Kansas State (2-0), Oklahoma State (2-0) and Baylor (3-0) all tout perfect records in Big 12 action.
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.
- The then-unranked Jayhawks upset then-No. 36 Nebraska on the road, 4-3 in their dual season opener. The win was the largest upset for Kansas in ten years and only the third time in a decade KU defeated a top-50 team. Previously, Kansas defeated No. 46 New Mexico on March 9, 2008, and No. 48 Oklahoma on March 18, 2005.
- KU’s No. 33 ranking on March 3 was the highest ranking the Jayhawks have reached in program history. The Jayhawks previously broke the record a week prior when they were pegged at No. 45; they debuted on the charts at No. 70 on Feb. 11.
- Kansas opened its 2013-14 season on an eight-match winning streak before losing to current 34th-ranked Kentucky, 4-0. The Jayhawks’ opening run ties them for the second longest opening win streak since the program’s first season in 1977.
- To open the dual match season, senior Claire Dreyer went on a ten-match win streak before falling to Marcelina Cichon of No. 19 Tulsa on March 8.
- In TennisRecruiting.net’s Top 25 Women’s Recruiting Classes for the Class of 2014, Kansas’ recruiting class received 76 votes, leaving it just one spot (six votes) below the Top 25 and 32 votes ahead of the next-highest vote-getter.
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