Feb. 24, 2010
Complete Release in PDF Format
By Justin Warren
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State tennis team will look to rebound from its three close loses last weekend, and attempt to put itself back into the win column against two nationally ranked opponents Friday and Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.
CSU (3-4, 0-0 Mountain West) is coming off a tough weekend, falling in three close matches, to New Mexico State, UTEP, and Lamar. Now the Rams will face their biggest hurdle of the season against No. 49 Nebraska and No. 42 Tulsa.
“We have two ranked teams this weekend and it is an opportunity to improve and raise our level of play to their level,” Head Coach Jon Messick said. “We struggled outdoors last week since we have not played outside. Being on the road is not easy, but we are going to be back indoors and that will help us. I think the team is excited about playing two really good teams. If we knock off a ranked team this weekend, then that makes last weekend something we do not worry about.”
The Rams will attempt to bounce back Friday, taking on undefeated, Nebraska (9-0, 0-0 Big 12). The Cornhuskers come into the matchup giving up only 12 total points in their nine matches. Nebraska has swept every match against its last three opponents with the help of nationally ranked Mary Weatherholt, the nation’s No. 53 player who is undefeated this season in singles at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions.
The Cornhuskers have already defeated two MWC teams this season, Air Force and Wyoming, but the Rams could be the first team in the nation to overcome Nebraska.
Saturday, CSU will face another nationally ranked adversary, Tulsa (7-4, 1-1 Conference USA), which has already faced seven top 50 teams in the nation. In their seven wins, the Hurricanes have allowed only two total points, sweeping their first five matches. Tulsa endured a four-match losing streak, including a loss to No. 21 SMU, before bouncing back with a 6-1 victory in its last match over Kansas.
Assisting the Hurricanes in their success this season is the doubles pair JoAnne Karaitiana and Alexandra Kichoutkin, who is No. 33 in the nation and owns an 8-4 record at the No. 1 position. Karaitinan and Kichoutkin have competed against three ranked opponents, falling to UCLA’s No. 11 team and the No. 29 Oklahoma pair, but defeating the No. 17 SMU duo.
But CSU has already knocked off a ranked opponent this season in doubles. Senior Laura Neal and junior Caitlin Fluegge defeated No. 35 Orsi Golovics and Malia Wahinepio of Northern Arizona on Feb. 13.
Sophomores Tori Arneson and Lauren Mulhern are the hottest two players coming into this weekend’s matchups. Arneson earned a 2-1 singles record at the No. 2 position Friday and Saturday. She defeated Manon Sylvain in three sets to conclude the New Mexico State match Friday, and knocked off UTEP’s Carolina Deluca in two sets Saturday, bringing CSU back from a 3-1 team deficit.
Mulhern has won seven out of her eight matches throughout the dual season after her 2-1 performance throughout the weekend. Saturday, She tied the team score at 1-1 with her two set win over UTEP’s Ximena Fuentes, and Sunday, Mulhern put the Rams in a position to contest for the team win over Lamar when she defeated Manami Kuroda in three sets.
This weekend will be a strong test for the Rams. Friday’s first serve is at 4 p.m. MT, and Saturday’s first serve will take place at 10 a.m. MT.