Wildcats Open Homestand with Sunflower Showdown vs. No. 35 KU

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- K-State women's tennis opens a four-match homestand to close out the regular season this Saturday as it hosts No. 35 KU in the Sunflower Showdown at 2 p.m. at Mike Goss Tennis Stadium. 

The Wildcats (9-10, 1-5 Big 12) are 4-3 at home this year while the Jayhawks (14-5, 4-2 Big 12) hold an identical record on the road.

"KU has a great team this year," explained K-State head coach Danielle Steinberg. "They are very well coached, and we know that they will come out with a lot of energy and a fighting mentality. We will have the home-court advantage and are feeling good after our win (at West Virginia), so I am anticipating a great college match on Saturday." 

K-State is coming off of its first Big 12 win of the season, beating the Mountaineers, 4-2, in Morgantown last Sunday. In addition to capturing three singles wins in the match, the Wildcats took the doubles point for the second time in Big 12 play with the help of the freshman duo Ana Garcia Navas and Millie Stretton as well as Palma Juhasz and Sara Castellano. The first-year Wildcats earned their third straight victory in the No. 1 position while Juhasz and Castellano picked up the win at No. 3, improving their record to 6-1.

"Our doubles play has improved a lot in the last few weeks, and just like most of our matches this year, the doubles point will be very important," said Steinberg. "Other than that, I am just expecting us to come out with great energy and resolve and, as always, control the things we can control well."

Leading the way for KU is Anastasiya Rychagova, currently ranked No. 67 in singles. The freshman has a 13-4 dual match record, all in the No. 1 position, and a 24-8 record overall between the fall and spring. 

For doubles, the Jayhawks are led by No. 79 Janet Koch and Nina Khmelnitckaia, who hold a 14-8 record on the season.

KU represents the ninth different ranked team K-State has faced this season, including the fourth at home.

"We are pretty excited to play at home again," explained Steinberg. "We had some long trips the past two weekends, so not only is playing at home easier physically, it also gives us an extra day of good practice on our courts."

Saturday's match is also Kids Day, featuring a free post-match clinic with players and coaches.

After KU, the Wildcats will compete in a doubleheader on April 22 as they host Southern Illinois (11-9, 3-0 MVC) in a rescheduled match at 9:30 a.m. and No. 15 Oklahoma State (17-4, 5-0 Big 12) at 3 p.m.