May 17, 2013
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State women’s tennis head coach Steve Bietau announced on Thursday the addition of three student-athletes during the spring signing period. The three new additions – Iva Bago, Liv Cirnu Maria Panaite – will join the roster in the fall of 2013 and will enter as freshmen.
“I'm excited about this group and the opportunity to work with them,” said Bietau about his new charges. “They are all talented, hard-working young women and I hope that their addition will allow us to raise the bar for our program. Good athletes, good students, and a record of success. As always, the true test will come as the next year or two progresses, but this group has a chance to be special.”
Bago joins the Wildcats from Velika Gorica, Croatia, with a solid junior career. In February of this year, Bago reached the quarterfinals of the Senior Croatian National Championships.
In 2010, Bago played on the Croatian national team in the European Team Tennis U16 Championships in Ankara, Turkey. She was also a member of the ITEAM team, which won the Croatian title for the U18 junior and senior division titles in 2010 and 2011. Also in 2010, she was the co-champion of the Croatian singles U16 division and reached the semifinals of the Croatian National championship in Osijek in 2010. Bago is also an accomplished cross country runner, as she helped her high school - Gimnazija Velika Gorica – win the national cross country championships in 2010 and 2011.
Cirnu, a product of Constanta, Romania, tallied a third-place finish in the U14 Romania National Tournament. She also advanced to the semifinals of the U16 ETA Tournament. At one point in her junior career, Cirnu reached a ranking No. 1002 in the world ITF junior rankings. She has also achieved a ranking of No. 13 in Romania at the age divisions of 14, 16 and 18.
Panaite, a native of Pitesti, Romania, won doubles titles at the 2010 and 2011 Romanian National Championships. During the 2010 Romanian National Championships, she also advanced to the semifinals in singles. In 2010, she registered a second-place singles finish at one ETA Tournament, then tallied a semifinal singles bid at a second ETA Tournament in Constanta, Romania.
Wednesday’s signees bring K-State’s overall signing class to five, as Bietau signed two during the fall signing period. The two student-athletes who signed in the early signing period were Palma Juhasz (Debrecen, Hungary) and Tegan Louw (Whitehill, Hampshire, United Kingdom).
A pair of Wildcats will be in action later this month, as junior Petra Niedermayerova and senior Karla Bonacic travel to the NCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Singles and Doubles Championships, May 22-27, in Urbana, Ill. Niedermayerova, No. 15 in the nation in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) singles rankings and a two-time ITA All-American, will compete in both the 64-player singles championship and will team up with Bonacic for the 32-team doubles championship at the Khan Tennis Complex.