Tennis Resumes Big 12 Schedule in Oklahoma

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State women’s tennis Big 12 Conference schedule has been somewhat of an on again off again affair this season. It’s on again this weekend, and for good, as the Wildcats travel to Oklahoma to face the OU Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowgirls.

The Wildcats intermingled two Big 12 matches with the five dates they have played in March, but will be able to focus solely on conference foes in a nine-match sprint to the end of the season.

With the change, Kansas State (2-9, 0-2) is also hoping to turn winning back on after dropping eight consecutive matches.  

Kansas State opens the roadtrip with the Sooners (2-9, 2-3 Big 12) on Saturday afternoon and look to win its first Big 12 match of the season against a team that has dropped four straight matches.

The Wildcats have fared well against Oklahoma in the past two seasons, winning a regular season match up in Manhattan last year and back-to-back Big 12 tournament matches.

On Sunday, K-State will tangle with Oklahoma State (10-5, 3-2 Big 12), a team that has historically given the Wildcats fits.

The Cowgirls hold a 28-4 all-time series lead but five of the last six meetings have been decided by a single point, including last year’s 4-3 win by Oklahoma State in Manhattan.

Rated the No. 52 team in the nation, the Cowgirls will be the ninth ranked opponent the Wildcats have faced this season.

Oklahoma State opened the season with six straight wins before dropping matches to Big 12 foes Baylor and Colorado. Kansas State may have a tough time with the Cowgirls as all of Oklahoma State’s losses have been to opponents currently ranked in the top -40.

Kansas State’s top player continues to be Viviana Yrureta who leads the team with 12 wins.

Kansas State head coach Steve Bietau announced Thursday that the Iowa State match has been rescheduled for April 4. The Wildcats will travel to Ames, Iowa, next Wednesday to challenge the Cyclones and host Texas Tech on Saturday in Manhattan. K-State closes the regular season with five of six matches at home.

LAST TIME OUT:  Kansas State faced three top-50 opponents during a grueling three-match spring break roadtrip. In Texas, the Wildcats were defeated by No. 16 Baylor, 7-0, and fell to No. 41 TCU, 6-1. K-State then traveled to California to match up with No. 15 Fresno State and were defeated by the Bulldogs, 7-0. Kansas State doubles duo Olga Klimova and Katerina Kudlackova remained undefeated in Big 12 Conference play after winning by default against Baylor’s No.38-ranked Klara Zrustova and Lenka Broosova. The Wildcats were down 6-7 and rallying at the time of Baylor’s disqualification.

MATCH WITH CYCLONES RESCHEDULED: Kansas State’s March 2 meeting with the Iowa Cyclones was supposed to serve as the Wildcats’ Big 12 opener but blizzard like conditions prevented the match from taking place. K-State head coach Steve Bietau announced that a make-up date has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 4, in Ames, Iowa. Kansas State and Iowa State are still looking for their first Big 12 victories. It will be the first of two consecutive Wednesday matches for K-State, as the Wildcats will also travel to Lawrence, Kan., on April 11 to face the Kansas Jayhawks. 

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: K-State’s schedule is a doozy with 14 of 20 opponents ranked in the latest Fila/Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll. The Wildcats have faced six opponents currently ranked in the top-30 and three opponents currently in the top-20. Kansas State has had a difficult time hanging with the top competition in the nation, posting an 0-8 mark against ranked opponents and an 0-2 record against opponents in the top-25. The Big 12 continues to be one of the top conferences in the nation with seven teams garnering national recognition. The Wildcats will face their ninth ranked opponent this weekend when they tangle with the No. 52 Oklahoma State Cowgirls in Stillwater, Okla.

NOT THE STREAK THEY HAD IN MIND: Kansas State dropped three consecutive matches over spring break and have now lost eight matches in a row. The Wildcats have fallen victim to a very tough schedule, dropping seven of those eight matches to team’s currently appearing in the national rankings. The eight-match skid is the longest since the 1997 Wildcat squad closed the season with 11 consecutive losses - the longest streak in school history.

DOUBLES JEOPARDY: Kansas State has an impressive record when winning the doubles point this season, but they’ve only been able to accomplish the feat three times. In matches where K-State wins at least two out of three in doubles play and earns the doubles point, the Wildcats are 2-1. In matches where Wildcat opponents win the doubles point, Kansas State is 0-8. Kansas State won the doubles point 12 times last season, posting a 10-2 mark in those matches. The last time Kansas State won the doubles point was in a, 6-1, loss to New Mexico on Feb. 25.

BUMPY ROAD:  The Wildcats have had success in the friendly confines of Ahearn Field House this season and have posted a 2-1 record in matches there. Overall, the Wildcats are 2-2 in Manhattan, but have yet to win a match on the road. K-State is 0-6 in away matches and 0-1 in neutral site match ups. Kansas State’s last road win was a, 4-3, win over Nebraska on April 23, to close out last year’s regular season. The team’s last win outside of Manhattan came against Oklahoma (April 27) on a neutral court in the first round of the 2006 Big 12 Championships.   

BEST IN CLASS:  Five Kansas State Wildcats earned recognition from the Big 12 office for their efforts in the classroom last semester. Katerina Kudlackova, Viviana Yrureta, Olga Klimova, Tereza Prochazkova and Natasha Vieira, were named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll after earning at least a 3.25 GPA last semester. 

TOP CATS:  Kansas State’s Viviana Yrureta and Tamar Kvaratskhelia garnered regional recognition for their performance last fall. Yrureta was tabbed as the No. 23 player in the Central Region after posting an 8-5 record. Yrureta put together a seven-match winning-streak and was an impressive 8-2 before running into a string of nationally-ranked opponents to finish fall play. Kvaratskhelia continues to be one of the top Wildcat players notching five wins in the fall. Kvaratskhelia was ranked as the No. 28 player in the Central Region rankings.

WINNER’S STATE OF BEING:  Despite posting an 8-12 mark in singles this season, Tamar Kvaratskhelia has proven to be one of the top Wildcats during the last two and a half seasons. Kvaratskhelia was the first Wildcat in school history to surpass the 30-win plateau and set the single season winning percentage mark at .816 with her 31-7 freshman season in 2005. She followed that campaign with another winning season in 2006, notching 17 more victories. Kvaratskhelia’s 56-33 record puts her seven wins shy of the top-six in all-time singles wins. Her .629 career singles winning percentage is third all-time behind Yana Dorodnova (.655) and 1994 All-American Karina Kuregian (741).