K-State Heads West, Faces Wichita State

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- No. 65 K-State women's tennis will take on its fourth straight ranked opponent on Monday when it battles No. 14 Wichita State in Palm Springs, California. 

The Wildcats (7-5, 0-1 Big 12), who lost their conference opener to No. 51 Baylor (5-10, 1-1 Big 12) at home on Thursday, will look to beat the Shockers (16-3, 1-0 MVC) for the first time since the 2014 season. At the time, Wichita State was ranked No. 32 while K-State was No. 58.

"Wichita State is one of the most confident and strongest teams in the country right now and I have a lot of respect for the program and its coaching staff," said K-State head coach Danielle Steinberg. "I think it is good for us to compete against such a high-caliber team, especially since we are going into Big 12 play where we see this level every weekend."

Wichita State is led by sophomore Gabriela Porubin, who is 4-3 in the No. 1 position and ranked No. 87 in the nation in singles. 

As a team, Wichita State has seven wins over ranked opponents this season and is 2-1 against Big 12 teams.

Both Wichita State and K-State attended the OU Fall Invite last fall. The Wildcats went 3-4 in singles matchups against the Shockers while the teams split in doubles, 1-1.

Two of K-State's singles wins over the Shockers in the OU Fall Invite came from Millie Stretton, who is currently 10-2 on the season. The freshman competed at the No. 4 position for the first time against Baylor.

Monday's match will be the first away contest for the Wildcats since defeating Memphis, 4-2, in New York on February 27. K-State is 2-0 in neutral site matches, defeating North Texas 6-1 in Washington back in January in addition to taking down Memphis. 

"Playing in a neutral site can be challenging," explained Steinberg. "You never know what kind of atmosphere and energy the site will give you. Most of the time, the teams are the ones that have to generate the energy themselves, which is something I believe we are capable of doing and something we talk about a lot."

Following the trip to California, the Wildcats will return to their Big 12 schedule when it hosts No. 32 Texas (6-4, 0-0 Big 12) on March 20 at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium.