MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Kansas State women’s tennis team will put their 4-match winning streak on the line on Friday afternoon, as the Wildcats (5-2) return home to face No. 23 Washington (7-2) at 2 p.m., at the Body First Tennis Center.
Friday’s match will feature the annual Wildcat Pink Match with Kids Day activities taking place after the conclusion of the Pac-12 Showdown with the Huskies. Supporting cancer awareness, the Wildcat Pink Match will feature a post-game clinic where kids can come and meet the Wildcats. The clinic will include cookies to the first 24 fans who participate in the festivities.
“This a great home match for us,” said Head Coach Jordan Smith. “Last year, Washington finished in the top-10 in the national rankings. This year, they are just inside the top 25. I know we’re good enough to compete well against any team out there. It should be a very good match between our teams. We had a solid showing on the road last weekend. We are excited to be back on our courts for this match.”
Winners of three matches in a row, No. 23 Washington (7-2) will return from a near two-week break from its spring schedule with its match against K-State on Friday. The Huskies’ two losses have come in dramatic 4-3 fashion at Florida State, which currently sits at No. 4 in the ITA Top 25 poll with a 7-1 mark, on Jan. 17 and at home to Princeton on Jan. 25. Three players rank in the ITA Top 125 Singles rankings, as Vanessa Wong (No. 66), Natsuho Arakawa (No. 82) and Katrina Kopcalic (No. 110) make up the top of the Huskies’ lineup.
In what seems like the turning point of the season, K-State delivered two significant victories last weekend down in Tucson, Arizona, as the Wildcats swept North Texas in convincing fashion with a 7-0 win, while outlasting Arizona in the final singles matchup, 4-3.
Playing through cramps for the duration of her match against Arizona, junior Maria Linares gave K-State a triumphant victory at the top of the lineup, clinching the match in the final set to send the Wildcats home with a 2-0 record. The Maracay, Venezuela native recorded a total of four points on the weekend between the Mean Green and Wildcats’ victories. Linares currently holds a four-match win streak of her own at the No. 1 spot for singles play, which ties the longest of her career in any position of the lineup.
Filling in at the No. 3 position for singles play, junior Margot Decker has tallied five-straight victories of her own and leads the team with six wins on the year in dual match play. Competing out of the No. 4 position, sophomore Rosanna Maffei has played well as of late, holding a current four-match win streak of her own.
Win streaks are not uncommon for the Wildcats as the current four-match win streak is the longest for any K-State squad since the 2019 spring season, where the team posted four straight victories from February 15-23, 2019.
The win streak for K-State has brought out quality marks in singles play as the team has now compiled 18 wins among those six positions during the four-match stretch.
Diving deeper in the team’s recent success for dual match competition, those nine solo victories increases the Wildcats’ total to 24 wins in singles play for the 2020 spring campaign.
Doubles play also played a significant role in the Wildcats’ wins last weekend, as Linares and sophomore Karine–Marion Job both jumped up to the No. 1 doubles spot and did not disappoint, earning set victories to help the Wildcats grab the doubles point on both days.
The duo of Decker and junior Anna Turco delivered their first victory of the season in the No. 2 doubles hole while giving the Wildcats a spark before singles play began, as the pairing notched a significant win against Arizona’s Gitte Heynemans and Khim Iglupas with a set score of 7-5.
Live stats will be made available for fans and spectators during Friday’s match, which can be found here.
At the end of Friday’s competition, K-State will turn its focus to a two-match road trip as the team travels to Iowa City, Iowa to take on DePaul on Saturday, February 22 and then Iowa on Sunday, February 23. The Wildcats are 1-0 against the Big 10 this year, defeating Penn State 5-0 in the home opener back on January 20.
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Source: Kansas State Sports