Wildcat Tennis Ready for Final Home Matches
MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Wildcats host their final two home matches of the season when Big 12 leader Baylor and Missouri visit Manhattan this weekend. No. 56 Kansas State plays No. 8 Baylor (17-3, 6-0) on Saturday at noon and then faces Missouri (6-7, 0-6) on Sunday at noon. The Wildcats enter the weekend fourth in the Big 12 Conference behind Baylor, Texas, and Texas A&M. K-State home matches are played outdoors at the Washburn Tennis Facility at the Peters Recreation Complex in Manhattan unless weather forces them inside at Ahearn Field House. Admission to all KSU home matches is free.
LAST TIME OUT: Kansas State jumped right back into the middle of the Big 12 race with a weekend sweep of Iowa State and Oklahoma. The Wildcats breezed past the Cylcones in a 7-0 win on Saturday at the Washburn Tennis Facility. Kansas State earned the doubles point after winning all three doubles matches and kept the momentum going through individual play. On Sunday Kansas State won the doubles point and five of six singles matches while rolling to a 6-1 victory over Oklahoma at Ahearn Fieldhouse.
SERIES HISTORY vs. BAYLOR: Kansas State is 3-9 against Baylor in 12 previous meetings and have lost the last seven matches. K-State holds a 2-2 mark against the Bears in Manhattan. The last Wildcat win over Baylor was a 6-3 decision in Manhattin in 1998.
SCOUTING THE BEARS: The Bears field one of the most dominant teams in the country and have won every Big 12 match they’ve played in this season. Five of the Bears’ players are ranked nationally, including 2005 All-American No. 4 Zuzana Zemenova (20-5) and No. 11 Zuzana Cerna (35-6).
SERIES HISTORY vs. MISSOURI: The Wildcats own a 19-7 series edge, including a 9-1 mark at home, against Missouri. The Tigers hold a three-game win streak over the Wildcats in the last two years and defeated K-State in Columbia 5-2 last year.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS: The Tigers come to Mahattan hungry for their first win in Big 12 Conference play. Amanda Pratzel leads the Tigers with a 10-3 record playing mostly at the No. 5 and No. 6 positions. Hana Kraftova is 4-3 at No. 1 singles for the Tigers. Kansas State swept singles play on day three against the Tigers at the Missouri Mock Duals last fall.
MIDDLE RELIEF: Kansas State has seen solid production from the middle of the singles lineup. Positions No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 have combined for over half of the team’s dual play singles wins and are 30-12 this season. Furthermore, the Wildcats haven’t dropped a match at No. 3, 4 or 5 in five consecutive matches. The No. 1, No. 2, and No. 6 spots have gone 23-19.
STREAK WATCH: K-State’s Fernanda Da Valle won her sixth consecutive match by defeating Christi Baxley of Oklahoma on Sunday. Da Valle is the current singles wins leader for the Wildcats with an 18-9 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: The Wildcats continue to spend time in the ITA Rankings, appearing this week at No. 56. Dating back to the final poll of the 2005 season, the Wildcats have now spent 12 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 an upswing to No. 45. 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.
DOUBLE DIP: Kansas State has won the doubles point nine times in 2006 and are 7-2 when getting the early lead. 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 1-4 when losing the doubles point.
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 74th career match on Sunday. 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. Eight spring doubles wins have also moved Simosa into 6th all-time with 62 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 17-10 mark in 2005-06 gives her a 48-17 career record, a .738 winning percentage.
IS THAT SCOREBOARD BROKEN?: The Wildcats have played in seven matches this season in which the final score has been 4-3, including six of the last eight. Kansas State is 2-5 in those matches. Since the adoption of the seven point scoring system in 2001, the Wildcats have played in 36 4-3 matches with an average of five per year. K-State played in eight 4-3 matches in 2001, the highest of any year, and have already tied the 2005 mark with seven matches left in the regular season. Kansas State is 11-27 all-time in 4-3 matches and the Wildcats are 45-66 in 111 all-time in matches decided by a single point.