No. 53 K-State Opens Big 12 Action in Texas

Karla Bonacic

March 15, 2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. - After recording one of the best starts in school history, No. 53 Kansas State will look to continue its strong play in Big 12 action as the Wildcats travel to No. 10 Baylor on Friday and No. 63 Texas Tech on Sunday. K-State’s schedule will ramp up in difficulty, as the Wildcats will face ranked opponents in its first five league matches. With one win this weekend, Kansas State will reach the 10-win mark for the first time since the 2006 season.

In its last matches on March 4 and March 6, K-State (9-1) tied the school record for the best start in school history after 10 matches. The Wildcats quickly dispatched of Houston, 4-0, in Manhattan, then traveled to Hutchinson, Kan., to edge past Wichita State, 4-3. The 9-1 start this season tied the 1989 squad for the best record in school history following the first 10 matches.

The top half of K-State’s lineup has continued to lead the Wildcats this season, as the trio of freshman Petra Niedermayerova, senior Antea Huljev and sophomore Karla Bonacic are 27-2 this season with 18 of those victories coming in straight sets.

No. 10 Baylor enters the weekend with a 9-2 overall record and 1-0 mark in Big 12 action after defeating Missouri, 5-2, on March 4. The Lady Bears lead the series with the Wildcats, 15-3, with K-State’s last win in the series coming on March 18, 2000. Baylor features a lineup with five singles players ranked among the top-125 in this week’s Campbell/ITA women’s tennis singles rankings.

No. 63 Texas Tech will host its Big 12 opener this weekend and will look to improve upon its 9-3 overall record. The Lady Raiders will have a busy weekend, as they host Kansas on March 18, non-conference foe Kentucky on March 19 and K-State on March 20. The Wildcats defeated the Lady Raiders last season in Wamego, 5-2, in the regular season finale on April 25.

After this weekend’s action, the Wildcats return home to host Texas and Texas A&M on March 25 and 26, respectively. Match sites will be determined on the morning of the matches depending on weather conditions.

K-STATE DROPS IN ITA RANKINGS: Despite winning a pair of matches in its last outing, K-State fell eight positions in this week’s Campbell/ITA women’s tennis national rankings on March 15  to No. 53. The Wildcats have reached a high of No. 45 this season which equals the highest ranking for the Wildcats since March 7, 2006 when K-State was also No. 45.

K-State is one of seven Big 12 members to appear in this week’s rankings, as Baylor comes in at No. 10, followed by Oklahoma is No. 19, Texas is No. 22, Texas A&M is No. 26, Nebraska is No. 29 and Texas Tech is No. 63.

KARLA KRUISING: Sophomore Karla Bonacic picked up right where she left off last spring with 10 straight wins to open the 2011 spring slate. The product of Split, Croatia is 14-6 this season and has won 11 of her last 12 efforts. Dating back to the final three matches of the 2010 spring season, Bonacic has now won 14 straight spring matches.

Bonacic opened the 2011 spring campaign in the number three position in the lineup with an 8-0 mark, which led to her promotion to the number two slot in the lineup on March 4 where she has won two straight matches and owns a career mark of 3-0 in the second spot in the lineup.

THE LONGER THE BETTER: When matches are extended to a third set this season, the Wildcats have found another source of energy to secure the win. As a team, K-State is 24-13 this season in three-set matches. Sophomore Karla Bonacic owns a 5-0 mark in three-set matches, while senior Antea Huljev is 7-2 and junior Nina Sertic is 3-1. For their careers, Huljev is 22-15 in extended matches while Bonacic is 10-2.