Feb. 8, 2013
This story appeared in Friday's edition of K-State Sports Extra
By Mark Janssen
Coaches coach Xs and Os, and they formulate scouting reports on opponents. Those are givens.
But in the Kansas State tennis camp this spring coach Steve Bietau is trying to coach “competitiveness.”
“We’re working really hard to become more competitive,” said Bietau. “We’re working hard on taking pride in being competitive. We have a couple girls who are good examples of being competitive, but we have other kids wanting to be at that level, but don’t quite know how. It’s more a competitive issue than tennis issue.”
The learning process is not only coming on the court, but also before the players get to the court through the strength and conditioning program.
“We need to get them stronger and in better shape, so they can be competitive in matches coming up,” said Bietau. “All of this goes into learning how to win matches.”
As the No. 64 team in the nation entering the season, K-State opened play two weeks ago with a 4-3 win over William and Mary, and a 5-2 win over No. 73 Harvard.
Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Body First Fitness and Tennis Center, K-State, now ranked No. 60 in the nation, continues its season against No. 23 Tulsa.
In looking at his 2013 roster, Bietau says, “You’re never really comfortable at any spot because everybody has a No. 1 that’s good, but our No. 1 can be really good. Petra (Niedermayerova) is pretty good even when she doesn’t play well, and Karla (Bonacic) has proven she can win at No. 2. Our concern is more with our depth.”
While sending a lineup of three seniors (Bonacic, Carmen Borau Ramos and Ana Gomez Aleman), a junior (Niedermayerova), a sophomore (Amina St. Hill) and a freshman (Ivana Kubickova) to the court, Bietau said, “We have players who have been in matches, but they’re still learning how to win. We have players that have won some, but they still have a long ways to go. We don’t have three Colin Kleins out there,” said Bietau. “They are great kids and I like how they’re working, but they just need to compete at a higher level.”
Starting out the year with 2-0 records are Niedermayerova, Kubickova and Aleman, while Bonacic and Hill went 1-1, and Ramos was 0-2 versus William and Mary and Harvard.
Niedermayerova is poised to have a record-setting year as she enters her junior season ranked No. 15 in the country and with 64 all-time victories. Niedermayerova was Big 12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year in 2011, plus all-conference and an All-American in 2012.
HOPING FOR MILD WEATHER: No one is hoping for a mild, dry spring like Wildcat tennis coach Steve Bietau.
Construction is continuing on the $3 million six-court tennis complex by the KSU recreation center and intramural fields. To be completed in time for the final four tennis matches of the season in late-April, a string of five days are needed where 50 degrees is the low to apply the final surface of the courts to the concrete base.
“We live in Kansas, so you just never know,” said Bietau.
But when completed, he said, “It’s going to be nice. We’ll have six courts, elevated seating for 400 fans and an electronic scoreboard. It’ll be a great place for spectators.”
K-State’s next scheduled home match after Saturday will not be until April 12 against Texas Tech, followed by Texas on April 13. Other home dates will be against Iowa State on April 19 and West Virginia on April 21.
Between Saturday’s match and the scheduled home matches will be 13 consecutive competitions on the road.
CAMPUS KIDS DAY: As a part of K-State’s dual match with Tulsa on Saturday at 11 a.m., the Wildcats will be hosting a USTA/ITA Campus Kids Day for kids in grades kindergarten to 8th grade. The program is designed to expose young players and their parents to college tennis matches. Participants will receive a K-State tennis t-shirt, a poster, plus the chance to win prizes through tennis contests. Also present will be Willie the Wildcat. The event is free.
We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact either Mark Janssen at email@example.com, or Kansas State Director of Athletic Communications/SID Kenny Lannou at firstname.lastname@example.org.