K-State Concludes Fall Play

MANHATTAN, Kan  -- The K-State tennis team is finished with fall play after beginning with the OU Invite in Norman, Oklahoma in late September and capping it off with the Clay Court Invitational in Orlando, Florida in early November. 

Eight different players competed in the five various tournaments combining for 39 singles wins and 19 doubles wins.

"The fall is all about personal development, learning how to compete, and getting tougher," explained head coach Danielle Steinberg. "We've been talking to the team a lot about those last two aspects. We get tougher through pre-season conditioning and practices. We learn about ourselves, our limits, and how much we can push those limits. I think most of the girls were able to push themselves this fall just a little more than they did last year and the year before. The more we can push ourselves in the fall, the easier things will be once we get into regular season."

Ana Garcia Navas and Millie Stretton each had solid performances in their fall debuts earning six wins apiece. The two freshmen also played a role in doubles, combining to be a part of 11 of the 19 victories.

"I think the freshmen did a tremendous job in embracing our team culture and what we stand for," said Steinberg. "They both worked harder than they ever have in their lives and I hope they can see and feel the improvements they both made. Both are going to play a major role this spring and I am excited to see how much they can accomplish."

With no seniors on the team, the Wildcats were led by a pack of juniors. Iva Bago, Livia Cirnu, Maria Panaite and Riley Nizzi combined for 16 singles wins and were a part of 15 doubles wins to start the season.

"The returners all did an excellent job as well," Steinberg said. "The juniors on the team are our silent warriors. Day in and day out they come to practice ready to give it all- I don't think I had to push them once this semester. We are really grateful to have this kind of leadership on the team."

Sara Castellano and Carolina Costamagna also had solid performances this fall after each missed time last season.

"Carolina might not be as consistent as the four juniors, but overall I am very happy with her fall," explained Steinberg. "More than anyone on the team, Caro is really learning her self-limits and realizing she is not even close to her maximum potential. If she keeps improving herself the way she did so far this fall, she will have a great spring.

"Sara is coming back from an injury, which is always tough, but every time she did play this fall, you can see her strong work ethics and hunger for competition," Steinberg said. "She didn't get to compete last spring so I am really excited to have her healthy and see what she can do in the league this year."

K-State will look forward to its spring schedule - competing in 24 matches -- which will start with 12 nonconference opponents before getting into Big 12 play. 

"Our spring schedule is tough, which is what we wanted," Steinberg explained. "In order to be ready for Big 12 play we have to compete against the top every week. We have 10 home matches, which is the most K-State has had in recent years. That's probably the part I am most excited about, being able to play at home and compete hard in front of our fans."

Spring play starts with a doubleheader on Saturday, January 23 at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Missouri. 

K-State's home opener will be Friday, February 5 against former Big 12 rival Colorado. Other notable home matches for the Wildcats include defending Big 12 champion Baylor on March 10 and last year's Big 12 runner up Texas Tech on April 1. 

Fall Tournament Records

OU Invite
-      Castellano (3-1)
- Garcia Navas (3-1)
- Stretton (3-1)
- Costamagna (0-4)
- Bago (1-3)
- Cirnu (1-3)
- Panaite (2-2)
- Nizzi (0-3)
- Cirnu/Garcia Navas (0-3)
- Bago/Costamagna (3-1)
- Nizzi/Panaite (1-2)
- Castellano/Stretton (1-3)

SMU Fall Tournament
- Costamagna (2-1)
- Cirnu (2-1)
- Bago (1-2)
- Stretton (2-1)
- Panaite (2-1)
- Stretton/Bago (1-2)
- Costamagna/Cirnu (2-1)

ITA Central Regional
- Garcia Navas (2-1)
- Costamagna (3-1)
- Bago (3-2)
- Castellano (2-1)
- Garcia Navas/Bago (2-1)
- Costamagna/Castellano (1-1)

Drake Jamboree
- Cirnu (2-1)
- Panaite (2-1)
- Stretton (2-1)
- Cirnu/Stretton (1-3)
- Panaite/Stretton (4-0)

USTA Clay Court Invitational
- Garcia Navas (1-2)
- Costamagna (1-2)
- Garcia Navas/Costamagna (2-0)