March 25, 2009
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's tennis team returns to action on Thursday, March 26, when they play host to the 57th-ranked University of Oregon Ducks at 1 p.m. at the Goldring Tennis Center. The match was pushed back due to a wet court after morning showers in the New Orleans.
The Green Wave will be looking to snap a three-match skid and pick up their first win against a nationally-ranked team this season. Thursday's contest marks the last of a five-match homestand for Tulane and the second-to-last home event for the team, which will host Conference USA foe Memphis on Tuesday, April 14.
"I know that (Oregon is) a solid team and a great singles team for sure," Tulane head women's tennis coach Terri Sisk said. "We just have to come out ready to play just like anybody else. We'll treat Oregon like they're (top-ranked) Northwester. What's important at this critical time is just to make sure we're doing what's right. It doesn't matter if we're playing Oregon or anything else. Right now, it's just playing the ball and doing things right."
Tulane enters the midweek matchup 8-10 on the year after dropping matches to UCF (4-3 on March 10, No. 45 Virginia Tech (6-1 on March 12) and No. 54 Tulsa (6-1 on March 16) in its last three outings. As a team, the Green Wave are 51-53 in singles play.
Freshman Mariam Kurdadze paces the club with a 15-3 singles mark so far this spring, including a perfect 7-0 record in No. 2 single action. In addition, the native of The Republic of Georgia has now won her last nine singles contests dating back to a three-set loss to SMU's Natalie Buebin in No. 1 singles play.
Fellow rookie Lindsay Dvorak is the only other Tulane player to sport a winning record as the freshman from St. Petersburg, Fla., is 8-7 in dual-match play.
"From my standpoint, we've gotten a lot better on a lot of things," Sisk said. "I get to see them every day, but it's interesting to hear spectators' views on it, though. I hear from a lot of people that they're shocked when they come out to see us now. People who have not seen us since that home opener are shocked at how much we have improved and how much more comfortable they look. I think we're doing things right. I think we're moving in the right direction.
"The best thing about this is that the girls are excited. They all realize that we are so close, so close to breaking into the rankings. People have asked me about our goals. Obviously we want to break into the rankings, but that was never a goal of ours this first year. Our goals are primarily to become better every match."
Oregon, which is slated to take on LSU on Wednesday evening, comes to Louisiana 7-8 in dual-match action and looking to snap a five-match losing streak dating back to a 5-2 loss to No. 20 Arizona State on Feb. 28. Prior to their match against the 21st-ranked Tigers on Wednesday, the Ducks are 40-42 in singles play and 21-22 in doubles action.
Madelie Janse van Rensburg, Stephanie Macfarlane and Carmen Seremata are tied for the team lead with nine singles wins apiece, while the Ducks' No. 1 tandem of Ana Cecilia Olivos and Pavlina Smatova pace the club with a 7-4 mark in doubles play.
Following Thursday's match against Oregon, the Green Wave return to action on Saturday, March 28, when Tulane travels to El Paso, Texas, for a pair of road contests. Tulane will battle New Mexico State on Saturday before taking on host and C-USA foe UTEP on Sunday. From there, the Wave travel to Kansas to take on the Kansas Jayhawks and the UMKC Kangaroos on April 10 and 11, respectively, before returning to the Goldring Tennis Center for their league match against Memphis.