Wildcats Begin Spring Play at Missouri State

UPDATE: The match against Evansville has been canceled due to inclement weather forcing the Purple Aces to cancel their travel plans.

Kansas State women's tennis will begin the dual match portion of the 2015-16 season this Saturday, January 23, in Springfield, Missouri at the Cooper Tennis Complex. K-State will face a pair of Missouri Valley Conference teams, including the host school, Missouri State, at 10 a.m. followed by Evansville at 3 p.m.

"A doubleheader is always tough, physically but also mentally," explained K-State head coach Danielle Steinberg.  "Physically, we have been working hard all fall to prepare and be strong enough to play at a high level twice a day, and I hope that will be the case on Saturday. Mentally, the girls will have to learn to "get up" in the morning and then do it again in the afternoon with no letdowns. Every opponent we play this year is dangerous, and we need to be ready to battle every day out there."

This will be the second straight year that K-State has faced Missouri State after defeating the bears 5-2 last year in Manhattan. Missouri State opened their season last weekend with a 6-1 loss to conference foe Wichita State. The Bears return six players from a year ago, including seniors Miranda Poile and Ema Turudija.

The Purple Aces went 3-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference a year ago and return three players, including sophomore Kennedy Craig, who lead the team with 20 wins.

Including this weekend, the Wildcats will play 12 non-conference opponents before they get into Big 12 play on March 10.

"It's been a great first week of practice, the girls came back with the right mindset and ready to work," said Steinberg. "I think we are all excited and anxious to play our first matches and really see what this team can do."

Steinberg, in her second year, will lead a group of five juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. Returning redshirt sophomore Sara Castellano is ranked No. 18 in the Oracle/ITA Division I Women's Central Regional rankings.

After this weekend's doubleheader, K-State travels to Pullman, Washington to battle Washington State and North Texas on January 29 and 30.