Wildcats Ready to Start the 2016-2017 Season

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The 2016-17 fall campaign for the Kansas State women’s tennis team will open at the OU Invite in Norman, Oklahoma, Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Several Big 12 teams will be competing in the tournament, including Oklahoma, TCU and Texas Tech. Teams participating from other conferences are Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, SMU, Tulsa and Wichita State.

Third-year head coach Danielle Steinberg is excited to get the season started, with matches beginning Friday morning. She notes, “This early in the year our main focus is the process, and just getting better every day. We try not to focus so much on results this early, but more daily improvements. Having said that, we are definitely excited to finally get to compete and see where we are with things. Competition is really the best way to expose our weaknesses, as well as our strengths and it will help us refocus our efforts in practice on specific things for each player.”

The Wildcats return seven players from the 2015-16 season, including four seniors: Iva Bago, Livia Cirnu, Palma Juhasz, and Maria Panaite. Also returning for the Wildcats are junior Carolina Costamagna and sophomores Ana Garcia Navas and Millie Stretton.

Coach Steinberg is looking to build off progress made last season where the Wildcats finished with 11 victories, the most since 2011.

The sophomore duo of Garcia Navas and Stretton posted records of 20-11 and 15-15, respectively, this past season. Their 35 combined wins last season were the most for a freshmen class since 2013-14, when six freshmen combined for 54 wins. Stetton was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team. Garcia Navas played a majority of the year in the No. 1 and No. 2 positions and was Big 12 Player of the Week in late February.

During their junior-year campaigns, Bago and Cirnu combined for 31 wins individually and 22 wins in doubles as they look to lead the team in their senior years. Bago played very well in the non-conference season, notching 12 wins. Cirnu finished the year with 18 victories to improve her career total to 51.

Fellow seniors Juhasz and Panaite look to help lead K-State in the upcoming season. Juhasz was mostly limited to playing just doubles last season due to injury, and is excited to take on a bigger role this season. She has 42 career doubles wins. Panaite totaled 14 victories in both singles and doubles a year ago and hopes her experience playing at different positions will help the Wildcats moving forward. 

Costamagna, a junior, had 15 wins a year ago playing primarily at the No. 3 spot. She also posted 16 victories in doubles with a few different teammates. Ending the year strong with back-to-back victories in the Big 12 Tournament, Costamagna is looking to improve from the experience she gained last year.

Coach Steinberg will begin her third year with K-State and looks to build upon back-to-back quarterfinal finishes in the Big 12 Tournament.

“We ended last year on a very positive note with the team playing high level tennis,” Steinberg added. “I am hoping we can carry that into the fall and show even better tennis from the get go.”

After completing the OU Invite, the Wildcats head to Dallas, Texas, to compete in the SMU Invite Oct. 7-9.

OU Invite – Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

First Round

Doubles Draw (9 a.m.)

Stretton/ Garcia Navas (K-State) vs Jackson / Kiro (TTU)

Costamagna/ Juhasz (K-State) vs Thoma/ Babic (UNT)

Bago/ Panaite (K-State) vs Liang/ Sasaki (UNT)

 

Singles Draw (12 p.m.)

Millie Stretton (K-State) vs Alexis Thoma (UNT)

Ana Garcia Navas (K-State) vs Lynn Kiro (TTU)

Iva Bago (K-State) vs Christiana Brigante (OU)

 

Singles Draw (1:30 p.m.)

Livia Cirnu (K-State) vs Julie Byrne (OU)

Paniate (K-State) vs Wright (SMU)

Juhasz (K-State) vs Liang (UNT)