NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane University women’s tennis team will look to get back on track on Thursday, March 12, when the Green Wave play host to No. 45 Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. in the Goldring Tennis Center.
Thursday’s contest is the third of a five-match homestand for Tulane, which will be facing its third nationally-ranked team of the Spring 2009 season. The Wave, however, will be looking for their first win against a ranked program after dropping 6-1 decisions to then-No. 73 SMU on Feb. 8 and then-No. 75 Mississippi State on Feb. 13.
“Virginia Tech is a very solid team,” Tulane head women’s tennis coach Terri Sisk said. “They’ve been as high as 37 this year in the ITA rankings. We know we’ll have our hands full with that one. Their whole team is riddled with talented players. We have to mentally prepare for that match now.”
Tulane enters the midweek matchup 8-8 on the year and looking to bounce back from a tough 4-3 Conference USA loss to UCF on Tuesday at Goldring. In that match, the Wave took an early 1-0 lead with wins on two of the three doubles courts before the Knights rallied for four wins in singles to sneak away with a one-point win.
As a team, the Wave are 49-43 in singles play so far this spring, including a 13-3 showing by freshman Mariam Kurdadze and a 4-1 mark by fellow rookie Anna Bartenstein. Kurdadze has won her last seven singles matches, while Elizabeth Hamlin – who comes into tomorrow’s match with an individual record of 3-5 – has won her last three contests.
Tulane has shown steady improvement in doubles play as the year has progressed and no performance was more evident of that than Tuesday’s match against UCF where Bartenstein and Hamlin joined forces to defeat the Knights’ tandem of Jenny Frisell and Elvira Serrot, a team that defeated Duke’s No. 1 doubles pair the week before when the Blue Devils featured the No. 11 doubles team in the nation.
The Green Wave sport a 19-23 record in doubles play and are highlighted by the tandem of Kurdadze and Lindsay Dvorak, who are 8-3 this season. The Tulane duo has won its last four matches after posting victories over Houston, UTEP, Illinois State and UCF.
“Our doubles are improving,” Sisk said. “We’ve focused so much on doubles and now we have to move it back into the singles area. Once those two things come together, I think you will see us as a nationally-ranked team.”
Virginia Tech, meanwhile, comes to town 8-3 on the year and riding the crest of a two-match winning streak after posting victories over Maryland (5-2) and Winthrop (6-1). As a team, the Hokies are 46-19 in singles play so far this spring and are led by Courtney Rauscher with an 8-2 mark in dual-match play. Inga Beerman, Virginia Tech’s No. 1 singles player, is 6-3 while Martha Blakely – who has seen time at No. 2 and No. 3 – is 7-3.
In doubles play, Virginia Tech is 23-8 in 2009, including an 8-1 showing by the duo of Jessica Brouwer and Holly Johnson. The Hokies No. 1 doubles team also comes to town ranked 63rd nationally in the most recent ITA rankings.
Following Thursday’s match against Virginia Tech, Tulane continues its five-match homestand on Monday, March 16, when the Wave play host to C-USA foe Tulsa before taking on Oregon on Thursday, March 26. Admission to all three matches, as well as the remaining 2009 Tulane home matches, is free.