K-State to Tangle With a Pair of Big 12 North Foes

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State has seen some of its best results in the past week, winning three consecutive matches and climbing a few spots in the Big 12 standings. The Wildcats begin a four-match homestand, competing with the Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday at noon and the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Wildcats (5-11, 3-5 Big 12) are 3-2 in home matches this season and are hoping the home court will continue to be good to them as they close out competition in the Big 12 north this weekend.

K-State topped both the Buffaloes and the Huskers in 4-3 matches on the road last season while going undefeated against Big 12 north opponents last year.

Colorado (12-6, 5-2 Big 12) is arguably the most improved team in the conference this season, turning a 10-10 record in 2006 into a 12-6 record and No. 30 national ranking headed into this weekend.

Nebraska (10-6, 3-5) has reached double digits in wins for the second consecutive year and were ranked as high as No. 46 earlier this season.

K-State No. 1 singles player Viviana Yrureta will face two of the top talents in the conference this weekend in Colorado’s Monica Milewski and Nebraska’s Imke Reimers.

The location of this weekend’s matches will be determined by the weather. The matches are scheduled to be played outdoors at the Washburn Tennis Facility next to K-State’s Peters Recreation Complex, but If the temperature is below 50 degrees or if the wind is above 20 mph, the matches will be played indoors at Ahearn Field House. Admission is free regardless of the location.

The Wildcats will close out the regular season the the following weekend by hosting perennial Big 12 south powers Texas A&M and Texas. Big 12 Tournament play begins April 26 in Kansas City, Mo. 

LAST TIME OUT:  Recently there’s something magical for Kansas State about a 5-2 score. The Wildcats won a 5-2 decision over in-state rival Kansas on Wednesday at the First Serve Tennis Center, their third win by that margin in a week. Kansas State took two out of three in doubles play and won four singles matches in straight sets to top the Jayhawks for the third year in a row. In the opening doubles point win, Yrureta and Da Valle combined to defeat Elizaveta Avdeeva and Edina Horvath the team that won the Central Region Tournament last fall and posted a 6-1 mark in Big 12 play prior to the match. The Wildcats improved to 8-37 in the all-time series against Kansas and have won consecutive meetings in Lawrence. Kansas State picked up its second road win of the season and its third win in Big 12 competition

HOT CATS:  Fernanda Da Valle, Katerina Kudlackova and Natasha Vieira have been exceptional for the Wildcats in the past two matches. All three went undefeated in their singles matches against Texas Tech and Kansas. Da Valle has been especially good for the Wildcats, winning her last three matches at No. 2 singles and helping K-State to three consecutive wins in the conference. In doubles play, Vieira and Tamar Kvaratskhelia have played an influential role in the Wildcats taking the last three doubles points with three consecutive wins at No. 3 doubles. The duo is 6-3 in dual play matches and 4-2 in the Big 12.

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.   

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: K-State’s schedule is a doozy with 12 of 20 opponents ranked in the latest Fila/Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll. The Wildcats will face nine opponents currently ranked in the top-40 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 0-9 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 five teams garnering national recognition. Kansas State was 4-8 against nationally ranked opponents in the 2006-07 season.

DOUBLES JEOPARDY: Kansas State has a solid record when winning the doubles point this season, but they’ve only been able to accomplish the feat seven times. In matches where K-State wins at least two out of three in doubles play and earns the doubles point, the Wildcats are 5-2. In matches where Wildcat opponents win the doubles point, Kansas State is 0-9. 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 Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Kansas. Kansas State’s last doubles point win in a losing effort was a 4-3 loss to Oklahoma on March 31.

UNO Y DOS:  Kansas State freshman Natasha Vieira earned her first Big 12 victory with a straight set win over Texas Tech’s Brenna Jackson on Saturday. Vieira won her second Big 12 match on Wednesday, topping KU’s Stephanie Smith. Vieira is 10-17 in singles this season and 2-5 in Big 12 play.

BUMPY ROAD:  The Wildcats have had success in the friendly confines of Ahearn Field House this season and have posted a 3-1 record in matches there. Overall, the Wildcats are 3-2 in Manhattan. K-State is 2-8 in road matches and 0-1 in neutral site match ups. The Wildcats earned their first road victory of the season in a 5-1 win over Iowa State in Ames, Iowa on April 4.   

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 11-14 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 59-35 record puts her four wins shy of the top-six in all-time singles wins. Her .628 career singles winning percentage is third all-time behind Yana Dorodnova (.655) and 1994 All-American Karina Kuregian (741).