Tennis Faces Stern Test in New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. The Kansas State tennis team travels to the highland desert of New Mexico for a showdown with the Boise State Broncos and the New Mexico Lobos this weekend at the Lobo Tennis Club.


The Wildcats (2-2, 0-0 Big 12) face Boise State on Saturday at 1 p.m. and grapple with New Mexico Sunday at 11 a.m. The Broncos and Lobos will face each other on Friday afternoon.


Boise State (4-1, 2-0 WAC) enters Saturday’s contest as the No. 67 team in the nation and on the heels of a 4-3 loss to Wichita State a team that seems to be beating everyone lately, including the Wildcats on Feb. 3.


The Broncos and Wildcats also share a common opponent in Utah. Boise State topped the Utes, 6-1, earlier this season and the Wildcats rolled to a 5-2 victory last Friday before falling to BYU on the following day.


Bronco junior Polina Kokoulina leads the top of Boise State’s lineup with a 4-1 mark in dual play and Stacey Housley (14), Tiffany Coll (13) and Jana Mackova (10) have reached double figures in wins this year. Coll and Bianca Jochinsen are 5-0 in dual play at No. 3 doubles.


On Sunday, K-State tangles with its second opponent ranked in the top-40 as the Wildcats compete against No. 38 New Mexico (4-0, 0-0 MWC). The Wildcats will be the second team from the Big 12 that New Mexico has faced this season, taking a 4-3 decision from Texas Tech on Feb. 4.


New Mexico’s lineup boasts five girls with double-digit win totals including Ola Abou-Zekry, who is a perfect 4-0 at No. 2 singles and 15-2 after an impressive fall. Senior Iva Gersic is expected to play at No. 1 singles for the Lobos and has posted a 3-1 mark there through the first four matches.


The Lobos have won the doubles point in all four matches that they’ve played this season and are a combined 9-3 in dual play doubles matches.


Saturday’s contest marks the second meeting between Kansas State and Boise State. The Broncos took the first meeting 6-3 on Jan. 28, 1995. K-State and New Mexico have played nine times with the Lobos holding a 7-2 series edge.


Kansas State will be without No. 2 singles player Tamar Kvaratskhelia for both matches. The junior from Tbilisi, Georgia, is still suffering from the effects of an injury two weeks ago and did not travel with the team. Freshman Natasha Vieira is expected move into the lineup at No. 6 singles for the Wildcats and team with Maria Perevoshchikova at No. 3 doubles.