Wildcats Begin Fall Play at OU Invite

OU Invite Draws Sheet (PDF)

MANHATTAN, Kan.
The 2015-16 fall campaign for Kansas State women’s tennis will open at the OU Invite in Norman, Oklahoma September 25-27. Several Big 12 teams will be competing in the tournament, including TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and KU. Teams participating from other conferences are Tulsa, North Texas, Wichita State, Portland and SMU.
After weeks of preparation, second-year head coach Danielle Steinberg is looking forward to opening the season, which starts Friday at 9 a.m. with the first slate of matches.

“It is a really good tournament for us because there are going to be a lot of high-level teams,” said Steinberg. “The first tournament is a good way for us to gauge what we need to work on. We (the coaches) see them in practice, but we really do not know what they look like until we start competing. We are looking forward to that, to know who is where and what we need to work on.”

The Wildcats return seven players from the 2014-15 season, none of which are seniors. The team’s five juniors, Iva Bago, Livia Cirnu, Palma Juhasz, Riley Nizzi and Maria Panaite, will look to lead the way.

“We are really happy with our returners,” Steinberg added. “We are expecting this to be a good tournament for them.”

Solid performances from Bago, Juhasz, and Cirnu helped propel this group of juniors to a record of 67-69 during their sophomore campaign, improving from the mark of 54-82 set during their freshman year.

Bago and Cirnu ended the season with 17 wins apiece. Bago started strong last season, earning seven triumphs in the fall. Cirnu led the way to end the overall season, tallying a team-high 11 wins in the spring. Juhasz, who also notched 17 victories last season, will not compete in the OU Invite.

Others returning for K-State include sophomores Sara Castellano and Carolina Costamagna. Castellano competed last fall but was granted a medical redshirt after suffering a season-ending injury. Costamagna assumed the No. 1 position for the Wildcats last spring in both singles and doubles after sitting out during the fall slate.

The team also welcomes two freshmen, Ana Garcia Navas from Spain and Millie Stretton from Scotland.

Coach Steinberg will begin her second year with K-State and look to build upon a quarterfinals finish in the Big 12 tournament a year ago.

Joining Steinberg this season is new assistant coach Jordan Smith. Smith, a product of Memphis, joined the Wildcats this past summer after being an assistant with the Middle Tennessee State men’s program.

“We are excited to start competing,” said Steinberg. “We have been working hard for three weeks, especially conditioning. It will be nice for them to actually go out there and play.”

After completing the OU Invite, the Wildcats head to Dallas, Texas to compete in the SMU Fall Tournament October 9-11.

OU Invite – September 25-27
First Round

Boomer Draw (11 a.m.)
Sara Castellano (K-State) vs  Maria Kononova (UNT)

Sooner Draw
Carolina Costamagna (K-State) vs Anastasiya Shestakova (UNT) - 11 a.m.
Ana Garcia Navas (K-State) vs Abby Stevens (WSU) - 12:30 p.m.

Stoops Draw
Livia Cirnu (K-State) vs Mahitha Dadireddy (Tulsa) - 1 p.m.
Iva Bago (K-State) vs Martha Matoula (Tulsa) - 1:15 p.m.

Crimson Doubles Draw (9 a.m.)
Castellano/Stretton (K-State) vs Kononova/Kutubidze (UNT)
Costamagna/Bago (K-State) vs Wegner/Arantekin (TCU)

Red Doubles Draw (9 a.m.)
Nizzi/Panaite (K-State) vs Quan/Zimmerman (WSU)
Cirnu/Garcia Navas (K-State) vs BYE

Switzer Draw – Round Robin
Friday, September 25 Round 1
Riley Nizzi (K-State) vs Ann Pepper (OU) - 2:15 p.m.
Maria Panaite (K-State) vs Brooke Withrow (OU) - 2:30 p.m.
Millie Stretton (K-State) vs Summer Schlotterback (WSU) - 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 26 Round 2 (Time: TBD)
Maria Panaite (K-State) vs Amber Zimmerman (WSU)
Millie Stretton (K-State) vs Autumn Crossnoe (TT)
Riley Nizzi (K-State) vs Summer Schlotterback (WSU)

Saturday, September 26 Round 3 (Time: TBD)
Riley Nizzi (K-State) vs Amber Zimmerman (WSU)
Maria Panaite (K-State) vs Macie Elliot (SMU)
Millie Stretton (K-State) vs Whitley Quan (WSU)

Sunday, September 27 Round 4 (Time: TBD)
Maria Panaite (K-State) vs Autumn Crossnoe (TT)
Millie Stretton (K-State) vs Luca Pump (WSU)
Riley Nizzi (K-State) vs Brooke Withrow (OU)