NEW ORLEANS – The Tulane University women’s tennis team will play a pair of matches over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, as the Green Wave will battle New Mexico State and Conference USA foe UTEP on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at the El Paso Tennis Club.
Tulane enters the weekend 8-10 on the year, but are coming off an impressive performance against No. 57 Oregon on Thursday at the Goldring Tennis Stadium. The Green Wave held a 3-2 lead and were one set away from picking up their first possible victory over ranked team this season when the Ducks were forced to suspend play and head to the airport to catch their flight back home.
“We are looking forward to playing New Mexico State and UTEP this weekend,” Tulane head women’s tennis coach Terri Sisk said. “Both are solid teams and will push us to continue to get better. We want to carry the momentum (of Thursday’s performance against Oregon) on, and from here we know the sky is the limit.”
Freshman Mariam Kurdadze paces the club with a 15-4 singles mark so far this spring, including a 7-1 record in No. 2 single action. The native of The Republic of Georgia saw her nine-match winning streak snapped against the Ducks on Thursday, but that came after she struggled with flu-like symptoms for the previous five days.
Fellow rookie Lindsay Dvorak is the only other Tulane player to sport a winning record as the freshman from St. Petersburg, Fla., is 8-7 in dual-match play. Dvorak’s match against Oregon’s Siobhan Cavan on Thursday was the point that never happened as Cavan won the first set, 6-3, before Dvorak rallied to tie the match with a 6-4, set-two victory. With a coaches’ agreement to stop the match following the fourth point or 4:30 p.m. – whichever came first – the match was stopped at that point so the Ducks could make their plane back to Eugene.
The Wave have shown steady improvement in doubles action, and aim to improve on a 21-27 doubles record in 2009. The combination of Dvorak and Kurdadze lead the team with a 9-4 doubles record, while the freshman tandem of Anna Bartenstein and Elizabeth Hamlin are 3-2. All five of Bartenstein and Hamlin’s doubles matches have come in the No. 1 spot in the lineup, including an 8-4 win over Tulsa’s Thalia Diaz-Barriga and Marta Marcinkowska in their last outing on March 16.
New Mexico State enters Saturday’s match 6-7 on the year and are led by junior Sophia Marks, who has gone 8-2 in her last 10 matches while sporting a 9-4 overall record so far this spring. First serve for Saturday’s match is slated for noon.
UTEP, meanwhile, comes into the weekend 9-12 on the year and 0-3 in C-USA action. Weronika Bloczynska leads the team with nine wins in 2009, all coming in the No. 1 spot in the lineup. Sunday’s match, which is slated to start at 11 a.m., marks the second time this season that Tulane and the Miners will square off against each other, and the Green Wave own the previous meeting, 5-2, back on Feb. 27 in day one of the Inaugural Islanders Invitational in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Following this weekend’s matches, the Green Wave return to action on April 10 when they travel to Kansas to take on the Kansas Jayhawks. From there, Tulane will take on the UMKC Kangaroos in Kansas City, Mo., on April 11, before returning to the Goldring Tennis Center for a C-USA showdown against Memphis.