K-State Prepared to Open Big 12 Play Against Tigers

MANHATTAN, Kan. The Kansas State Wildcats will open Big 12 competition and travel to face the Missouri Tigers this weekend in Columbia, Mo.  


Kansas State’s (2-4, 0-0 Big 12) Big 12 conference opener with the Iowa State on Friday was postponed due to blizzard-like conditions, but the Wildcats will still travel to Missouri (4-3, 0-2 Big 12) on Saturday.


Kansas State hopes to improve on its 21-7 all-time record against the Tigers, but will face a tough challenge against Missouri after re-shuffling the lineup in recent weeks.


Missouri has won two consecutive matches headed into Saturday’s contest but the Tigers have dropped all three of their matches against Big 12 opponents this season.


The Tigers are likely to go with Erika Josbena, Amanda Pratzel, and Chrissy Svetlic at the top of their singles rotation. Josbena, who has appeared in the most matches at No. 1 for Missouri, is 2-15 this season and 1-5 in dual play after picking up her first win in the Tigers thumping of Montana last weekend. Pratzel (4-3) and Svetlic (3-3) boast better records in dual play for Missouri.


K-State, who jumped two spots to No. 63 in Tuesday’s Fila/ITA poll despite two losses last weekend, continues to operate with limited lineup options. No. 2 singles player Tamar Kvaratskhelia has been hampered by an injury during the past three weeks and No. 3 singles player Maria Perevoshchikova left the team last week because of personal reasons.


Viviana Yrureta is again expected to anchor the top of the Wildcat lineup and has paced K-State with 11 wins this season. Fernanda Da Valle made the jump from No. 5 singles to No. 2 last weekend and responded with a win over Boise State’s Bianca Jochimsen. Da Valle has been one of the hottest Wildcats recently, winning three of her last four matches and posting a 4-2 mark in dual play.


Kansas State has shown strength in doubles play this season, grabbing the doubles point to begin three matches. K-State is 2-1 when winning the doubles point and 0-3 when losing it.


K-State’s last visit to Columbia resulted in a 5-2 loss to the Tigers in 2005, but the Wildcats still hold an 8-4 edge over Missouri on the road.


A make-up date for the Wildcats’ match against Iowa State has not been determined but a decision is expected early next week.