K-State Heads to the Big Apple to Take on Columbia, Memphis

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- No. 70 K-State women's tennis will look to continue its winning ways on Friday and Saturday when it travels to the east coast to face No. 50 Columbia and Memphis at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center.

Freshly-ranked K-State (5-2) is coming off of an impressive weekend where it earned back-to-back 7-0 victories over Air Force and Drake. Freshman Ana Garcia Navas' performance helped her earn her first career Big 12 Player of the Week honor after finishing a combined 4-0, including singles wins of over Mary Meyers of Air Force and Mariel Ante of Drake in the No. 1 position.

Fellow classmate Millie Stretton also had a strong showing as she won both of her matches in straight sets after being moved up to the No. 5 position for the first time. The freshman is now 7-0 in singles dual play and has won nine straight matches overall.

The Wildcats also got singles wins on both days by Sara Castellano, Carolina Costamagna, Iva Bago and Livia Cirnu. K-State captured the doubles point in both matches as well for the third and fourth time this season.

"Coming off of a great week at home, my main goal is to keep the confidence and momentum going," explained K-State head coach Danielle Steinberg. "Columbia will be the highest-ranked we have played so far this season, but I believe we are ready for the challenge and ready to push ourselves to that next level. I am excited to see how the team responds to this challenge. Memphis is also a very solid team, and I am predicting it will be a highly competitive match with them."

Senior Kanika Vaidya, who is currently ranked No. 48 in women's singles, leads Columbia (5-3) with a 7-1 singles record in dual play this season.

The Lions also have a nationally-ranked doubles pair with Rima Asatrian and Alexandra Solovyev being No. 57.

Janina Berres and Marta Morga lead the way for Memphis (1-7) with three dual match singles wins apiece.

Despite the Wildcats having just two wins in seven combined all-time meetings against the Lions (0-2) and Tigers (2-3), Steinberg is pleased with the team's progression at this point in the season as K-State has won four of its last five matches.

"It is great to see the team growing and improving," said Steinberg. "A lot of it has to do with confidence but most of it has to do with all the hard work the girls put in every day. Since the beginning of the fall, we have talked about focusing on the process and just trusting that things will come together when they are supposed to. Seeing everyone improve on a weekly basis is very rewarding to the team and also to the coaching staff."

Following this weekend's slate of matches, the Wildcats will be back at home to host No. 54 Denver and SMU on March 4 and 6 at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.