Jayhawk Tennis Scheduled to Face 12 NCAA Tournament Teams on 2015-16 Slate
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Twelve NCAA Tournament teams from a season ago, including four who were ranked in the final Top 25 poll, highlight the 2015-16 Kansas women’s tennis schedule, announced Friday by head coach Todd Chapman. The Jayhawks, who were ranked as high as 65th in the country last season, have put together a schedule that challenge the squad as it looks to obtain a bid to the 2016 NCAA Championship.
The 2015 NCAA Tournament participants included on the 2015-16 KU schedule include: Arkansas (January 29), Purdue (January 30), Wichita State (February 26), New Mexico (February 28), Denver (March 6), Baylor (March 9), Houston (March 13), Tulsa (March 25), TCU (April 1), Texas Tech (April 3), Oklahoma (April 22) and Oklahoma State (April 24). Oklahoma and TCU each moved on to the second round of the tournament, while Oklahoma State and Texas Tech reached the Round of 16 and Baylor advanced to the Elite 8.
“We are very excited about our fall and spring schedules for this year,” said Chapman. “We are still a young team, with just one true upperclassman on our roster. I am always looking for ways to challenge our team in an effort to get the best out of them and this schedule certainly presents those opportunities.”
Five players return to the 2015-16 lineup: senior Maria Jose Cardona and sophomores Summer Collins, Alexis Czapinski, Smith Hinton and Lauren Pickens. Coming off an 8-15 season (4-5 in Big 12 play), KU will welcome four newcomers, including three freshmen. The newcomers include freshmen Nina Khmelnitckaia, Janet Koch and Anastasiya Rychagova and senior transfer Kristina Savchenkov.
“We have a very challenging fall schedule that will expose our team to some adversity early on,” said Chapman. “I am looking forward to seeing how we handle it and also how we can use the tools we gain to have a productive spring season.”
The Jayhawks will compete in six tournaments during the fall season, beginning with the Midland Invitational in Midland, Texas (Sept. 18-20). KU will also take part in the Little Rock Invitational in Little Rock, Arkansas and the Oklahoma Invitational in Norman, Oklahoma, the following weekend (Sept. 25-27). Kansas will play in two tournaments in October in the 10,000 Hilton Head Invite (Oct. 3-7) in Hilton Head, South Carolina and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Regionals in Stillwater, Oklahoma (Oct. 15-18). Concluding the fall slate is the Texas Tech Invitational in Lubbock, Texas (Nov. 6-8).
“The spring schedule is going to be tough,” said Chapman. “Twelve of our opponents played in the NCAA tournament last year. Our goal is to make the NCAA tournament this year and to do that you have to schedule teams that give you the chance to reach your goals. We believe this schedule will give us that opportunity.”
Spring play begins January 18, when the Jayhawks host a double-header against Nebraska-Omaha and Drake at the Jayhawk Tennis Center.
Kansas will then travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas for matches against a pair of NCAA Tournament teams in Arkansas and Purdue. Following the trip south, KU will return to the Jayhawk Tennis Center for seven-straight home matches against North Texas, Colorado, Wichita State, New Mexico, SMU, Denver and Baylor. Four of the seven opponents during that stretch competed in the NCAA tournament last year.
Kansas will open the always-tough Big 12 Conference portion of its slate against Baylor on March 9, as it closes out the seven-match home stand. KU will host three other Big 12 home matches and go on the road for five league matches. The home conference slate in addition to the Baylor match includes Texas (March 18), Oklahoma (April 22) and Oklahoma State (April 24). KU will travel for Big 12 road matches at TCU (April 1), Texas Tech (April 3), West Virginia (April 8), Iowa State (April 10) and Kansas State (April 16). The 2016 Big 12 Conference Championship will be held at Oklahoma State April 28-May 1.
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