March 25, 2011
NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane University women's tennis team returns to action over the weekend when the Green Wave travel to Houston to take on Wichita State and Rice on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at Jake Hess Stadium. Saturday's match against the Shockers is scheduled to begin at noon while Sunday's contest against the Owls is slated for 11 a.m.
The Green Wave enter the weekend 8-8 on the year, winners of six of their last eight matches and looking to build on the momentum of a 4-3 victory over Samford last Sunday at the Goldring Tennis Center. With five matches remaining in the regular season, the Tulane team will try to build its resume to get a good seed in the upcoming Conference USA Women's Tennis Championship, which will be played from April 21-24 in Orlando, Fla.
"Both teams are very solid and both have had good years," Tulane head women's tennis coach Terri Sisk said. "Rice has struggled a little bit recently, but they beat Wichita State today 5-2. Both matches are going to be very physical, especially with the heat here in Houston. We're looking forward to them. The girls are ready. We've had a good balance of working out and resting at the same time, so I think we're in a good position to play some of our best tennis."
As a team, Tulane is 144-77 in singles action and 52-38 in doubles play, including marks of 56-39 and 20-21 in singles and doubles during dual-match action, respectively. Sophomore Emma Levy leads the team with a 20-10 overall records and also sports a team-best 12-4 marks so far during the spring. Junior Mariam Kurdadze is next for the Wave with a 19-11 overall singles mark and an 11-5 showing in dual-match competition, and the Tulane pair are two of five players to feature double-digit singles wins on the year as junior Lindsay Dvorak is 15-10, sophomore Hila Elster is 15-12 and junior Elizabeth Hamlin has 10 victories.
"It's going to come down to confidence," Sisk said of the upcoming weekend. "The girls realize that on any given day, we truly can compete with anybody in the country. They just need to stop looking at what the opponents' shirts say and just play each individual person and let it be a battle between each other as opposed to Tulane vs. Rice or Tulane vs. Wichita State, no matter what kind of years they've had.
"It's going to take a lot of heart. Neither one of these matches are going to be easy. I'm sure at some point, if the girls are down they're going to feel like it'll be easier just to give up. But that's when you have to dig deep to find that other gear and play with heart. That's what it'll come down to."
Wichita State will be playing its second contest at Jake Hess in as many days on Saturday as the Shockers dropped a 5-2 decision to homestanding Rice on Friday afternoon. The loss was the fourth in a row for WSU as the team's last win came on Feb. 26 when the Shockers earned a 4-2 decision over Wyoming in Wichita, Kansas.
During the spring season, Wichita State is 50-33 in single action and 16-21 in doubles play. Lutfiana Budiharto leads the Shockers with an 11-3 singles record while Veronika Blaskova and Delia Damaschin had identical 9-5 marks. The tandem of Damaschin and Carla Venticinque pace Wichita State doubles with a 7-2 record.
Rice, meanwhile, is 10-8 on the year , ranks 69th in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association standings and have won two of its last three matches. The Owls are 57-50 in singles and 36-16 in doubles play during the dual-match season.
Kim Anicete leads Rice with a 12-4 singles record and Dominique Harmath is next at 10-7. Jessica Jackson is the lone Owls standout to hold a national ranking, the No. 110 rated singles player in the nation according to the ITA, and is teid for third on the club with a 9-9 singles record.
The tandem of Jackson and Daniella Trigo lead the Rice doubles teams with a 14-2 record and all but one of their wins have come on Court 3.Hanle and Ana Guzman, along with Harmath and Alex Rasch, share the team lead with 11 doubles wins each.
"Any match is just another match on the schedule, but Rice is a little bit different because they're sitting at No. 69 in this week's rankings," Sisk said. "We're less than four weeks away from the conference tournament. Any time near the end of the year, you want to win because of the seeding. The seeding for the conference tournament can make or break you. Rice came in at the No. 4 seed last year and as of right now they would be the No. 4 seed again. We'd really like to win this one for sure."
Following the trip to Houston, the Green Wave will close out the 2011 regular season with consecutive home matches against Louisiana-Lafayette on April 9, Southern Miss on April 14 and South Alabama on April 17. Admission to all Tulane home tennis matches is free.