Wildcats Seek Rocky Mountain High Against Colorado
MANHATTAN, Kan - The Wildcats play their second Big 12 Conference match of the season when they head for the mountains and face No. 45 Colorado Buffaloes on Saturday. Kansas State (4-2, 0-1) put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season in wins over No. 72 Tulsa and Wichita State last weekend. Colorado (7-3, 1-1) topped Texas Tech last weekend and also rides a two-game streak coming into the contest. The match is the first Big 12 North match for both teams.
LAST TIME OUT: The wins keep coming for K-State tennis coach Steve Bietau. With a 7-0 sweep over in-state rival Wichita State at Ahearn Fieldhouse on Saturday, Bietau earned career win No. 200. The win was a dominating effort by the Wildcats, as Kansas State breezed through doubles play and won in straight sets in every singles match. Tamar Kvaratskhelia gave No. 47 Madina Rakhim her first loss of the season in both singles and doubles. On Feb. 23, Kansas State snapped a three-match skid in which they lost the doubles point and Olga Klimova continued her recent success as the No. 66 Wildcats beat No. 72 Tulsa 4-3 at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.
SERIES HISTORY: Kansas State and Colorado have met 27 times since 1981 with the Buffaloes holding a 18-9 series edge. The Wildcats won four consecutive meetings from 2000-03 but have dropped the last two, including a 4-3 decision in Manhattan last year. Kansas State holds a 5-5 record at Boulder and are 1-1 in high altitude matches this season (Utah and BYU).
SCOUTING THE BUFFALOES: Colorado is off to a great start, compiling a 7-3 record overall and a 1-1 mark in early conference play. Colorado topped Texas Tech, 5-2, on Saturday, a team that defeated the Wildcats in adverse conditions earlier this season. Colorado’s three losses came against tough competition, No. 11 Texas, No. 36 Oregon, and No. 19 BYU. Monica Milewski was tabbed the No. 55 player in the nation in the most recent Fila/ITA Rankings. Milewski will occupy the No. 2 position for Colorado, where she has compiled a 4-1 record. Colorado was 12-12 in 2005 and return six letterwinners from that squad. The Buffaloes are coached by Nicole Kenneally.
COLORADO PROJECTED LINEUP: Singles (dual play records): 1. Jessica Vanderdys (7-3); 2. Monica Milewski (5-4); 3. Ewa Losinski(8-2); 4. Veera Nurmi (7-3); 5. Franziska Jendrian (7-1); 6. Gleisy Torres Torres (3-2); Doubles: 1. Milewski/Vanderdys (2-5); 2. Losinski/Torres Torres (1-3); 3. Jendrian/Nurmi (2-3).
BIETAU REACHES MILESTONE: Kansas State head coach Steve Bietau reached the 200 win plateau as the Wildcats swept past the Wichita State Shockers on Feb. 25. Bietau became the all-time wins leader at Kansas State during just his third season in 1987 and has since gone on to triple the combined wins of his four predecessors. Bietau has the most wins of any active head coach in the Big 12 Conference North Division and is fourth in the entire conference. Bietau’s team’s have reached double digits in the win column in nine of his 21 seasons, including a school-high 15 wins in 2003.
CONSECUTIVE CATS: The Wildcats were No. 67 in the February 28 natinoal team poll. Dating back to the final poll of the 2005 season, the Wildcats have now spent seven consecutive weeks ranked in the top-75 and have appeared in every poll released by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and Fila this season. K-State debuted at No. 67 in the preseason poll and remained there through the first three weeks of play before making the slight upswing to No. 66. The poll streak is nowhere near the 46 consecutive polls the Wildcats appeared in from March 21, 2001 through March 16, 2004. The highest ranking achieved by the Wildcats during the last five seasons is No. 32 in the 2003 final poll. Kansas State’s Katerina Kudlackova was tabbed as the No. 100 player in the country in the preseason poll, but in the most recent poll no Wildcats are ranked individually.
STREAKING TO VICTORY: While no one is close to the 13-consecutive wins Tamar Kvaratskhelia put together to begin last season, a Kansas State freshman record, several Wildcats put together winning streaks in the fall. Freshman Katerina Kudlackova opened her career with four straight wins including a debut victory over then No. 52 Vlatka Jovanovic of Arkansas. Kvaratskhelia also opened the season with four consecutive wins before dropping two matches in the Indiana Hoosier Classic. Kvaratskhelia then rattled off four more on her way to the semi-finals of the ITA Central Region Tournament where she was defeated by the eventual champion, Arkansas’ Ela Kaluder. Seven of the nine Wildcats to suit up in the fall won three or more matches in a row at some point during the fall season. After losing the opening match of the spring at the Georgia Bulldog Invitational, freshman Maria Perevoschikova won five straight singles matches including four straight in dual play before her streak was snapped against BYU on Feb. 18.
DOUBLES DILEMMA: Kansas State won the doubles point against Tulsa and Wichita State last week, giving them three doubles point wins and three doubles point losses. In a tennis dual, both teams play three doubles matches and the winner of two-out-of-three receives the point. Each singles match is worth one point. Kansas State is 1-2 when losing the doubles point, losing to Texas Tech and Brigham Young. The doubles point is played at the beginning of the match and can give a team an early edge or be the deciding factor in a close match. The Wildcats improved their combined record to 9-9 in doubles dual matches this season after winning five of six matches against Tulsa and Wichita State
ON THE MEND: Wildcat netter Viviana Yrureta continues to rehab after the sophomore from Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela, had ankle surgery over Christmas break. Yrureta, who was hampered by the injury during fall play, compiled a 3-3 singles record and a 5-4 doubles record before missing the final two tournaments of the fall with illness.
KING OF THE MOUNTAIN: K-State head coach Steve Bietau has the longest tenure of any coach in the Big 12. The leader of the Wildcats is tied with Texas A&M’s Bobby Klienecke. Bietau’s 21 seasons directing the Wildcats trails only Ward Haylett’s 35 seasons as track and field head coach as the longest tenure of any Wildcat coach.
ROAD WOES?: Kansas State evened its record to 2-2 on the road with a win over Tulsa but has lost the doubles point in three of four road matches. The Wildcats were topped 4-3 by Texas Tech in the second match of the year and dropped a 6-1 decision to BYU in Provo on Feb. 18. K-State’s first road win of the season came Feb. 17 in a 5-2 victory over Utah. The Wildcats topped Tulsa on Feb. 23, 4-3. To add to the road blues, all of Kansas State’s luggage was lost as the team was rerouted in Denver following the trip to Utah.
STEADY SIMOSA: Jessica Simosa continues her steady ascent up the Kansas State career leaderboards. The senior from Valencia, Venezuela won nine singles matches in the fall to lead all Wildcats and won her 70th career match against Wichita State’s Wendi Webster. Former teammate Maria Rosenberg spent the 2004-05 season rising to the top of the list and is the career wins leader with 79. Simosa has shown constant improvement since her freshman season and turned in her best performance with 21 wins last season. Simosa won 17 matches in her freshman season and 19 during her sophomore campaign. Four early spring doubles wins have also moved Simosa into 6th all-time with 560 career doubles wins.
WINNING WAYS: After streaking to a record setting 31-7 campaign during her freshman year in 2005, Tamar Kvaratskhelia continued to win matches at a record clip through the fall. Kvaratskhelia, who was the first Wildcat in school history to surpass the 30-win plateau, set the single season winning percentage mark at .816. The sophomore from Tbilisi, Georgia tied for second on the team with eight wins in fall play. Her 13-7 mark in 2005-06 gives her a 44-14 career record, a .758 winning percentage.