No. 64 K-State Travels to ITA Season Kick-off

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Following their season-opening win last Saturday, No. 64 Kansas State women’s tennis will play its next six matches away from home. The Wildcats will travel this weekend to Los Angeles, California to take part in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Season Kick-Off. K-State will face No. 74 UC Irvine on Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT) and will then face either No. 1 UCLA or Marshall on Sunday.

With a win on Saturday over UC Irvine, K-State will begin a season 2-0 for the first time since the 2013 season and for the 13th time in program history.

UC Irvine opened its season with a 7-0 win over UC San Diego on Saturday. UC Irvine is the No. 72 team in the country after posting a 17-7 record last year. The Anteaters return junior Sarah Gong, who went 10-2 in the fall. K-State will face the Anteaters for the first time on Saturday. The Wildcats are 4-2 all-time against members of the Big West Conference.

UCLA begins the spring season as the No. 1 ranked team in the country. The Bruins' singles lineup returns all six starters from last year and boasts two of the Top 3 players in the country - No. 2 Robin Anderson and No. 3 Chanelle Van Nguyen. The two teammates faced off in the finals of the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships in September. UCLA also has the No. 1 doubles team in the country in Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips. K-State has never faced UCLA and is 24-39 all-time against schools from the Pac 12.

Marshall defeated the College of Charleston, 6-1, in their season debut on Saturday. Marshall enters the spring unranked but went 14-8 last year. The Thundering Herd are led by sophomore Derya Turhan, the No. 116 ranked player in the country. K-State has never faced the Thundering Herd, but owns a 12-18 mark against schools from Conference USA.

K-State secured its first win of the spring with a 6-1 victory over Northern Iowa on Jan. 17. The win was the first under first year head coach Danielle Steinberg. The win by Steinberg marked the sixth time in six tries that a new K-State head women’s tennis coach won their Wildcat debut.

A pair of Wildcats extended personal singles winning streaks to three matches on Saturday, as senior Amina St. Hill and sophomore Livia Cirnu secured wins against Northern Iowa. For St. Hill, who is 7-4 this season, this is her second stretch of at least three straight wins this season, as she won four straight from Oct. 24-26. In her last eight singles matches, St. Hill has come away victorious seven times.

Cirnu, who is 7-5 this season, extended her win streak to a season-high three matches. Cirnu had a pair of winning streaks of three matches or longer in her freshman season in 2013-14, including a three-match win streak to end the season.

Following this weekend’s matches in Los Angeles, K-State will travel to the state of Colorado for a pair of matches. Kansas State will face Colorado on Saturday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. (CT) in Boulder and then will travel south to face Air Force on Sunday, Feb. 1 at 9:30 a.m. (CT) in Colorado Springs.