K-State Begins Big 12 Play, Hosts Baylor

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- No. 65 K-State women's tennis opens Big 12 play on Thursday when it hosts No. 51 Baylor at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.

The Wildcats (7-4), who returned to the ITA national rankings this week, enter the conference opener coming off its highest ranked win since 2014 and also hold a 4-1 record in Manhattan.

"It is always exciting to start Big 12 play, especially when we get to do it at home," said K-State head coach Danielle Steinberg. "Baylor is a national powerhouse and has been so for many years now. I have a lot of respect for the program, its coaching staff, and all they have accomplished in recent years. Having said that, we approach every match knowing that if we control what we need to control, we will put ourselves in a situation to win."

The Bears (4-9) lead the all-time series, 22-4, against the Wildcats, including a 7-2 mark in Manhattan. K-State's last win against Baylor was in 2011 (4-3). At the time, the Wildcats were ranked No. 53, and the Bears were No. 10.

Baylor is led in doubles by Blair Shankle and Kiah Generette. They duo is 3-3 on the season in the No. 1 position and are currently No. 17 in the Oracle/ITA Division I Women's Doubles rankings. They are 7-4 over the fall and spring, including three victories over ranked opponents.

Shankle also holds the best singles record in dual play for the Bears at 4-2 with wins in the No. 2, 3, and 4 positions.

For the Wildcats, Millie Stretton looks to continue the great start to her freshman campaign after back-to-back wins last weekend. She has won a team-high 10 of 11 singles matches competing in the No. 5 and 6 positions and leads the team in overall singles victories with 16.

Livia Cirnu won both of her singles matches last weekend, including the clinching match to give K-State a 4-3 victory over then No. 50 SMU. The junior has won nine of 11 dual matches this year in the No. 5 and 6 positions and is second on the team with 14 singles wins overall.

"Coming off of a win is important to our confidence, as well as playing on our home court," explained Steinberg. "This is a young and hungry team and we are excited to see where we match up in conference play."

Seven of the 10 Big 12 teams are ranked in this week's ITA team rankings, a group that includes K-State and Baylor.

Following the match on Thursday, the Cats will head to Palm Springs, California to take on No. 14 Wichita State (16-3) on March 14.