Jayhawks Head to Oklahoma Classic
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s tennis will embark on its second fall tournament weekend when it travels to Norman, Oklahoma for the Oklahoma Classic. All 11 Jayhawk players on the roster are set to compete in the tournament, which begins Friday, Sept. 19 at the Headington Family Tennis Center.
Kansas had a split schedule in its opening weekend of fall action as the squad split up, sending players to both the Midland Invitational and the CCLR Collegiate Invite. Despite being in separate locations, the Jayhawks, composed of three returnees and eight newcomers, were able to get their feet wet and start to see where improvements need to be made.
Freshman Smith Hinton and senior Maria Belen Luduena both experienced success going at their respective tournaments, as each player reeled off three-straight wins in singles play. For Hinton it was great to her first collegiate experience and at the same time find early success.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Hinton. “I went out there and played hard and really wanted to win for our team. Heading into Oklahoma this weekend, I want to keep up my intensity and focus on the court.”
At the Oklahoma Classic, Kansas will go up against players from SMU, Abilene Christian, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas State, Wichita State, Denver, North Texas and Tulsa.
Fresh off her first career singles title at the CCLR Collegiate Invite, Luduena will look to lead the Jayhawks once again as she competes in the Boomer Draw of singles play. Luduena will take on Oklahoma’s Lily Miyazaki in her tourney opener Friday.
A trio of Jayhawks will play in the singles Sooner Draw in Hinton, junior Maria Jose Cardona and freshman Madison Harrison. Cardona will open against Wichita State’s Gabriela Porubin, Hinton will take on Mackenzie Craft of Arkansas in her first match, while Harrison will face Abbi Melrose of the host Sooners on Friday.
Three more Kansas players will play in the Stoops Draw in singles action. Sophomore Jasmine Almaguer will challenge Brittney Reed of Abilene Christian in her first match of the tournament, freshman Summer Collins will play Sonja Radosevic of Denver in her opener and freshman Rachel McNeely will play Oklahoma’s Emma Devine.
The Switzer Draw for singles play will feature four Jayhawks in freshmen Melinda Johnson, Alexis Czapinski and Lauren Pickens, along with sophomore Caroline Henderson. Johnson will play Peyton Jennings of Arkansas, Czapinski will play OU’s Ann Pepper, Pickens will take on Nada Marajanovic of Abilene Christian and Henderson will go against Giulia Guidetti of Wichita State in their opening matches.
Doubles draws have yet to be released.
Kansas head coach Todd Chapman is looking forward to having his entire squad competing together for the first time this season so the team can develop good chemistry.
“The whole team being together will allow Aaron (Fuller, assistant coach) and I to be with everyone on the court coaching,” said Chapman. “Developing these player coach relationships is key in moving forward.”
In preparation for the Oklahoma Classic, Chapman had the Jayhawks focus on being mentally tough, a quality that will be crucial to finding success in match play.
“You have to be mentally into each point,” said Chapman. “Our biggest focus for the upcoming weekend is mentally and physically competing on each point. This will allow us to have more winning situations.”
For complete results from the Oklahoma Classic, visit KUAthletics.com or follow @KansasTennis on twitter.
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