No. 31 K-State Hosts Huskers, Visits Cyclones

Ana Gomez Aleman

March 29, 2011

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Match 15
(41) Nebraska (14-3, 2-1 Big 12) vs. (31) Kansas State (11-3, 2-2 Big 12)
April 1, 2011 | 1 p.m. | Wamego Recreation Complex | Wamego, Kan.

Series History and Notes
Nebraska holds the advantage in the series, 26-13... K-State is 7-8 against the Huskers in matches played in Manhattan or Wamego... The teams have split the last 10 meetings in the series... Nebraska won last season’s matchup, 7-0, on March 26, 2010 in Lincoln... Head coach Steve Bietau owns a 13-16 mark against the Huskers.

Match 16
(31) Kansas State (11-3, 2-2 Big 12) at Iowa State (10-8, 1-3 Big 12)
April 3, 2011 | 12 p.m. | Forker Tennis Complex | Ames, Iowa

Series History and Notes
Kansas State leads the series with Iowa State, 25-10... The Wildcats hold a 10-5 record against the Cyclones in matches played in Ames... K-State holds a 9-1 edge in the last 10 meetings in the series... K-State won last season’s matchup with Iowa State, 4-3, in Wamego, Kan., on March 28, 2010... Head coach Steve Bietau is 24-5 against Iowa State.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - After notching its second win of the season over a top-25 opponent and achieving the highest ranking in the program’s history, No. 31 Kansas State will close out its three-match home stand on Friday against No. 41 Nebraska at 1 p.m. The match against the Huskers will mark the fifth straight against a ranked opponent and is the first time since the 2002 season that K-State has faced five straight ranked foes in the regular season. Overall, K-State is 4-3 this season against teams ranked in the Campbell/ITA national top-75 rankings.

Depending on weather conditions, the match between the Wildcats and Huskers will either be played outdoors at the Wamego Recreation Complex in Wamego, Kan., or indoors at the Body First Tennis and Fitness Center in Manhattan.

Following its home match against Nebraska on Friday, K-State hits the road to close out the weekend at Iowa State on Sunday. The Wildcats are 3-1 in true road matches this season.

In its last matches on March 25 and 26, K-State (11-3, 2-2 Big 12) tied the school record for the best start in school history after 14 matches by splitting a pair of  matches with No. 26 Texas and No. 26 Texas A&M. The Wildcats fell to the Longhorns, 5-2, in its first outdoor home match this season.

The following afternoon, K-State registered a program first as the Wildcats defeated the Aggies for the first time in the history of the series (17 matches). The win was the second over a top-25 foe this season and is the first time since the 2003 NCAA Tournament that K-State has defeated two top-25 opponents in the same season. The victory also secured the first above .500 month of March (4-2) since the 2001 campaign (4-2) and also guaranteed the first above .500 season since the 2006 campaign.

Following its match at Iowa State, K-State will return home to close out its 2011 home schedule on April 8 and April 10. The Wildcats will host Colorado on Friday, April 8 at 1 p.m. K-State will end its home slate on Sunday, April 10 with “Senior Day,” as the Wildcats will honor its lone senior, Antea Huljev, before the match against Missouri at 1 p.m.

At a Glance: Nebraska
K-State will host No. 41 Nebraska (14-3, 2-1 Big 12) to begin the first weekend of April. The Huskers are coming off a 4-3 win over No. 75 Missouri on Sunday in Columbia, Mo. Friday’s match with the Wildcats will be the end of a three-match road trip for Nebraska.

The Huskers have been paced this season by sophomores Patricia Veresova and Stefanie Weinstein. Veresova is 14-3 and owns a 11-0 record when playing at the number two position in the lineup, but is 2-2 from the number one slot.

Weinstein is 12-4 this season and is 10-3 from the number three position. Weinstein has also paired with Madeleine Geibert to notch an 12-3 doubles record this spring from the number one position.

At a Glance: Iowa State
K-State concludes its weekend on Sunday at Iowa State (10-8, 1-3 Big 12), which carded its first Big 12 road win since the 1997 season in its last outing at Colorado on Sunday, 5-2. The win ended a four-match losing streak and was the first Big 12 win this season and the fourth under third-year head coach Armando Espinosa.

K-State Soars to Highest Ranking
Boosted by its upset win over then-No. 25 Texas A&M on March 26, K-State rose eight positions in this week’s Campbell/ITA women’s tennis national rankings on March 29  to the highest ranking in the program’s history, No. 31. The previous high for a K-State team was No. 32 on two separate occasions, June 6, 2003 and March 30, 2000.

K-State is one of eight Big 12 members to appear in this week’s rankings, as Baylor comes in at No. 9, followed by Oklahoma at No. 22, Texas at No. 23, Texas A&M at No. 32, Nebraska at No. 41, Texas Tech at No. 45 and Missouri at No. 74.

Also jumping back into the Campbell/ITA top-125 singles rankings after a two week absence was freshman Petra Niedermayerova. On the strength of defeating three top-20 foes in the last eight days of competition, Niedermayerova climbed to No. 43 in the country.  On March 1, the native of Brno, Czech Republic made her first appearance in the national rankings with a debut position of No. 123.

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 29-14 this season in three-set matches. The Wildcats were the benefactors of two 3-set matches during its upset over No. 10 Baylor, as junior Nina Sertic and sophomore Carmen Borau Ramos scratched their way to a pair of wins over the Lady Bears. Borau Ramos’ victory sealed the win for K-State from the number six position in the lineup.

Individually this season, K-State has seen sophomore Karla Bonacic register a 6-0 mark in three-set matches, while senior Antea Huljev is 8-3 and Sertic is 4-1. For their careers, Huljev is 23-16 in extended matches while Bonacic is 11-2.

Niedermayerova Strong 
Freshman Petra Niedermayerova continues to lead the Wildcats from the front of the singles lineup, as she was named the Big 12 Player of the Week on March 29. Niedermayerova garnered the honor after notching her fourth and fifth victories over a ranked opponent this season with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 win over No. 15 Aeriel Ellis of Texas on March 25 and a 6-1, 6-1 win over No. 18 Nazari Urbina of Texas A&M. She now has three wins over top-20 ranked foes in the last eight days, as her run started win a straight set win over No. 19 Sona Novakova of Baylor on March 18.

The product of Brno, Czech Republic, owns a 12-2 mark this spring with all matches played in the number one position. Since Jan. 14, Niedermayerova has carded a 14-3 record including five wins over ranked foes in the Campbell/ITA singles rankings, including four in straight sets. Niedermayerova defeated Georgia’s No. 67 Nadja Gilchrist on Jan. 14 (6-2, 6-4), then on Feb. 6 defeated No. 70 Sonja Molnar of Iowa (6-1, 6-3).

Overall in her first season in Manhattan, Niedermayerova is 15-7 and is 13-4 in straight set matches.

Karla Kruising
Sophomore Karla Bonacic has picked up right where she left off last spring with 11 wins in 12 chances this spring. The product of Split, Croatia is 15-7 this season and has won 12 of her last 14 efforts. Dating back to the final three matches of the 2010 spring season, Bonacic has now won 14 of her last 15 spring matches.

Bonacic has been solid for K-State this season from the number three position in the lineup, where she is 9-1 including 1-1 in league action. For her career, Bonacic is 11-1 when playing in the third spot in the K-State lineup.

Go, Go Gomez Aleman
Sophomore Ana Gomez Aleman recorded her third career Big 12 singles win at a crucial time for the Wildcats, as she sealed K-State’s first-ever win over Texas A&M on March 26.

Gomez Aleman defeated Janelle Cuthbertson at number four singles, 6-4, 6-4 to tally her first Big 12 victory this season and her third in 14 career Big 12 matches. With the victory, the product of Murcia, Spain, halted a personal four-match skid and secured her first singles win since Feb. 19 against Nathalia Garay of UALR. The win was Gomez Aleman’s first at the number four position in the lineup since Feb. 12 against Milou Israel of Louisiana-Lafayette.

For the season, Gomez Aleman owns a 12-12 overall record and is 7-5 this spring.