No. 40 Wildcats End Home Slate This Weekend

Antea Huljev

April 5, 2011

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Match 17
Colorado (3-12, 0-5 Big 12) vs. (40) Kansas State (12-4, 3-3 Big 12)
April 8, 2011 | 1 p.m. | Wamego Recreation Complex | Wamego, Kan.

Series History and Notes
Colorado leads the series, 23-11... K-State is 3-11 against the Buffaloes in matches played in Manhattan or Wamego... Colorado has won six straight in the series, including last season’s first round matchup in the Big 12 Championships in Austin, Texas, 4-1... Head coach Steve Bietau is 11-21 against the Buffaloes.

Match 18
(73) Missouri (10-7, 2-5 Big 12) vs. (40) Kansas State (12-4, 3-3 Big 12)
April 10, 2011 | 1 p.m. | Wamego Recreation Complex | Manhattan, Kan.

Series History and Notes
Kansas State leads the series with Missouri, 23-9... The Wildcats hold a 10-2 record against the Tigers in matches played in Manhattan or Wamego... K-State and Missouri have alternated wins since the 2006 season with K-State capturing last year’s meeting in Columbia, 5-2, on April 11... Head coach Steve Bietau is 23-5 against Missouri.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - No. 40 Kansas State will close out its 2011 spring home schedule this weekend, as the Wildcats host Colorado on Friday at 1 p.m., and No. 73 Missouri at 1 p.m. Sunday’s match against the Tigers will mark the home finale for K-State’s lone senior this season, Antea Huljev, who will be honored in a pre-match ceremony.

Depending on weather conditions, the matches with the Buffaloes and Tigers 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. Updates will be posted to the athletic department’s Twitter account @kstatesports when they become available.

K-State will look to improve on its overall and Big 12 win totals, as K-State needs two overall victories to tie for the second-highest win total in school history and needs two league victories to notch the most since the 2006 campaign. The Wildcats are off to the best start in school history following 16 matches played and have secured the 11th double-digit win total in school history.

With its match against the Tigers on Sunday, K-State will face its ninth ranked foe this season which is the most since the 2009 season. Overall, K-State is 4-4 this season against teams ranked in the Campbell/ITA national top-75 rankings.

In its last matches on April 1 and 3, K-State (12-4, 3-3 Big 12) tied for the fifth-most wins in a single season as the Wildcats split a weekend series with No. 41 Nebraska and Iowa State. K-State dropped Friday’s opener against the Cornhuskers, 4-3, in Wamego. The match against the Huskers ended a five-match stretch against ranked foes, in which K-State went 2-3. The Wildcats recovered on Sunday with a 5-2 win at Iowa State to improve its road record this spring to 4-1.

The victory over the Cyclones gave K-State its 12th win of the season, which ties the 1997, 2001 and 2002 teams for the fifth-most wins in school history.

Following its match with Missouri, K-State will close out the 2011 regular season with a three-match road trip. The Wildcats will face No. 22 Oklahoma in Norman on April 15 at 5 p.m., followed by a trip to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State on April 17 at 12 p.m. The Wildcats will end the regular season on April 23 at Sunflower State rival Kansas at 12 p.m.

At a Glance: Colorado
K-State will host Colorado (3-12, 0-5 Big 12) to begin the weekend on Friday afternoon, as the Wildcats will look to end a six-match skid to the Buffaloes. Colorado is coming off a 6-1 loss on Friday to Oklahoma State in Boulder. The Buffaloes are in the midst of a nine-match losing streak, which is tied for the longest such stretch since the 1977-78 season.

Colorado has been led this season by Kristina Schleich. Schleich has ascended to the top of the Buffaloes’ lineup during the last eight matches and owns a 16-15 record this season. She tallied a 6-4, 6-3 win over Nataliya Shatkovskaya of Oklahoma State last weekend to end a five-match losing streak.

At a Glance: Missouri
K-State concludes its weekend on Sunday against Missouri (10-7, 2-5 Big 12). The Tigers are 3-4 in their last seven matches and visit K-State after defeating Oklahoma State on Sunday, 5-2.

K-State Drops in Latest Ranking
For the ninth consecutive week, the Wildcats are among the Campbell/ITA national top-75 team rankings with a No. 40 listing this week. The nine straight weeks among the rankings is the longest K-State has been ranked since being ranked for the entire 2006 campaign.

Boosted by its upset win over then-No. 25 Texas A&M on March 26, K-State rose eight positions in in the March 29 rankings to the highest 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. 25, Texas A&M at No. 33, Nebraska at No. 38, Texas Tech at No. 39 and Missouri at No. 73.

Also jumping back into the Campbell/ITA top-125 singles rankings on March 29 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 32-15 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 9-3 and Sertic is 4-1. For their careers, Huljev is 24-16 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 secured three wins over top-20 ranked foes in the an eight day span, as her run started with a straight set win over No. 19 Sona Novakova of Baylor on March 18.

The product of Brno, Czech Republic, owns a 13-3 mark this spring with all matches played in the number one position. Since Jan. 14, Niedermayerova has carded a 15-4 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 18-8 and is 15-4 in straight set matches.

Karla Kruising
Sophomore Karla Bonacic has picked up right where she left off last spring with 13 wins in 14 chances this spring. The product of Split, Croatia is 17-7 this season and has won 14 of her last 16 efforts. Dating back to the final three matches of the 2010 spring season, Bonacic has now won 16 of her last 17 dual matches.

Bonacic has been solid for K-State this season from the number three position in the lineup, where she is 11-1 including 3-1 in league action. For her career, Bonacic is 13-1 when playing in the third spot in the K-State lineup.

Go, Go Gomez Aleman
Sophomore Ana Gomez Aleman recorded her third straight victory and her fifth career Big 12 win with a three-set decision over Simona Cacciuttolo of Iowa State in the number four position on April 3. The win by Gomez Aleman sealed the match win for the Wildcats, which is something Gomez Aleman has done now twice in a week’s time for K-State.

On March 26, the product of Murcia, Spain, defeated Janelle Cuthbertson at number four singles, 6-4, 6-4 to tally her first Big 12 victory this season and complete K-State’s first-ever win over Texas A&M in the history of the series.

For the season, Gomez Aleman owns a 14-12 overall record and is 9-5 this spring.