MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State looks to extend its current three-match winning streak when it hosts Oklahoma State and the University of Iowa this weekend at the Washburn Tennis Facility in Manhattan. Saturday’s matchup features the Wildcats against Big 12 Conference foe Oklahoma State (4-4, 0-1) at 11 a.m. on the courts by the KSU Recreation Center.
The Wildcats evened their conference record with a 4-3 win over Colorado last weekend and seek further improvement and their first ever home victory against the Cowgirls. Sunday’s contest pits No. 45 Kansas State against No. 47 Iowa in a top-50 showdown. The match against the Hawkeyes (7-2) will begin at noon. In case of inclement weather, the matches would be moved indoors to Ahearn Field House. Admission to all Kansas State tennis matches is free.
LAST TIME OUT: For the second consecutive match, the Kansas State Wildcats showed a relentless attack, taking the doubles point and the opening set in the first four singles matches, en route to a 4-3 win over No. 45 Colorado at Ranch Country Club on March 4. K-State began the match with Fernanda Da Valle and Olga Klimova winning at No. 3 doubles and Maria Perevoschikova and Tamar Kvaratskhelia winning at No. 2 doubles to collect the doubles point. From there the Wildcats went up a set in each of the first four singles matches and kept the pressure on.
KSU-OSU SERIES HISTORY: Oklahoma State holds an impressive 29-3 series edge, including a 13-0 mark against the Wildcats in Manhattan. The Cowgirls have won two in a row against Kansas State, with the last Wildcat win coming in 2003.
SCOUTING THE COWGIRLS: Oklahoma State is 4-4 going into Thursday’s contest with No. 19 BYU. The Cowgirls four losses have come against ranked opponents, including Big 12 power Baylor last week. Transfer Marta Tsivka leads the Cowgirls with a 7-1 record in dual play and will compete at the No. 5 singles position. No. 1 singles player Iryna Tkachenko was invited to last year’s NCAA Individual Championships and was ranked as high as No. 58 in the fall. The Cowgirls are coached by Julius Lubicz-Majewski, the OSU career leader in wins with 231.
COWGIRL PROJECTED LINEUP: Singles (dual play records): 1. Iryna Tkachenko (3-4); 2. Zana Masnic (2-5); 3. Lauren Simmons (4-4); 4. Yawna Allen (3-4); 5. Marta Tsivka (7-1); 6. Jessica Collins (2-2); Doubles: 1. Tkachenko/Tsivka (2-6); 2. Masnic/Allen (3-4); 3. Simmons/Osinska (6-1).
KSU-IOWA SERIES HISTORY: Sunday’s contest will mark the third meeting between Iowa and Kansas State, with the Hawkeyes holding a slim 2-1 series edge. It will also mark the first ever trip to Manhattan for Iowa. The Hawkeyes play Kansas on Saturday before visiting the Wildcats.
SCOUTING THE HAWKEYES: Iowa carries a solid 7-2 record, and a streak of six consecutive wins into the weekend. The two losses came against ranked opponents Baylor and the University of Denver early in the season. No. 39 Meg Racette holds a 7-2 dual record.
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 9-of-21 seasons, including a school-high 15 wins in 2003.
CONSECUTIVE CATS: Kansas State jumped to No. 45 in Fila/ITA rankings on March 7. Dating back to the final poll of the 2005 season, the Wildcats have now spent eight 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.
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. Fernanda Da Valle has won five consecutive doubles matches, including four with doubles partner Olga Klimova.
DOUBLES DILEMMA: Kansas State has won the doubles point in their last three matches, giving them four 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. 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. Kansas State is 1-2 when losing the doubles point, losing to Texas Tech and Brigham Young. The Wildcats hold a sparkling 4-0 record when winning the point. The Wildcats improved their combined record to 11-10 in doubles dual matches this season after winning seven of nine matches against Tulsa, Wichita State and Colorado.
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.
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 spring doubles wins have also moved Simosa into 6th all-time with 60 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 14-7 mark in 2005-06 gives her a 45-14 career record, a .758 winning percentage.
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.
GIANT KILLERS: The Wildcats have knocked off ranked players in consecutive matches. Tamar Kvaratskhelia defeated No. 47 Madina Rakhim of Wichita State on Feb. 25, and Jessica Simosa beat No. 55 Monica Milewski of Colorado on Sunday.