March 23, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women's tennis team (8-4, 0-1 Big Ten) continues its conference play this weekend when it hosts both No. 26 Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Spartans and Golden Gophers match up on Saturday, March 24th at 11 a.m. MSU then plays Wisconsin the following day on Sunday, March 25th at 11 a.m. Action takes place at the MSU Indoor Tennis Facility.
Scouting the Spartans
The Spartans wrapped up nonconference play this past weekend when they hosted Ball State. MSU blanked the Cardinals, 7-0, at home in its last nonconference match of the season. It was the second time of the season that the Spartans prevented their opponent from scoring at least one point. The first time happened in the season opener when Michigan State blanked Oakland, 7-0. Minnesota will be only the second ranked opponent of MSU's so far this season. The Golden Gophers check in at No. 26 in the ITA rankings.
Sophomore Katarina Lingl has been the leader in singles play for the Spartans for most of the season. Lingl is 9-3 and has seen action at both the No. 4 and No. 5 positions. Sophomore Olga Chernova has also been a consistent player for MSU in singles matches. Chernova has gone 5-5 on court two and is 1-1 at the No. 1 spot. Freshman Julianne Gruber has gone 6-4 in her debut season for the Green and White, recording a perfect 4-0 record at the No. 6 position. Sophomore Marina Bohrer is 6-2 at the No. 3 spot and has won one match as the No. 2 player.
Guentert's Doubles Victories
The Spartans have seen consistent victories on court three in doubles play this season. They are 8-3 at the No. 3 position. A consistent player on that court is redshirt junior Dana Guentert. Guentert has been part of eight of those wins at the No. 3 spot. She is 8-2 in doubles play and is 5-2 when playing alongside freshman Hilary Hager.
Last Time Out
The Spartans picked up their eighth victory of the season when they blanked Ball State, 7-0. MSU swept the all the doubles matches as well as the singles. Junior Nicole Herzog and sophomore Katarina Lingl defeated Courtney Wild and Kristel Sanders, 8-2 in doubles play. On court two, sophomore Marina Bohrer and junior Michaela Silesova shut out Ashlyn Rang and Sarah Hebble, 8-0. Redshirt junior Dana Guentert and freshman Julianne Gruber prevailed in a close match against Dena Boulieris and Lauren Pickrel, 8-7 (5).
Sophomore Olga Chernova picked up her first win at the No. 1 spot over Wild, 3-6, 6-4, 10-5. Herzog dropped Sanders, 6-4, 6-3 while Bohrer edged Rang, 6-1, 6-0. Silesova recorded a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Kylee Johnson on court four. Lingl faced off against Hebble and captured the victory, 6-4, 6-0. Guentert picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win over Boulieris at the No.6 spot.
Minnesota checks in the ITA rankings at No. 26 with a record of 11-1. They are on an eight-match winning streak their most recent 4-3 victory over Louisiana State. Minnesota's next two road matches against the Spartans and Michigan will be their fourth and fifth in a row. The Golden Gophers won their only Big Ten match they played this season, topping Wisconsin, 5-2. Junior Alexa Palen is a perfect 11-0 in singles play, going 4-0 at the No. 1 spot and 6-0 at the No. 2. She won one match on court three. Sophomore Natallia Pintusava is 8-2 in singles and a combined 9-2 in doubles.
Looking at Wisconsin
The Badgers visit East Lansing after a matchup with Michigan on Saturday. Wisconsin is 9-4 this season and 0-1 in the Big Ten after dropping its conference opener to Minnesota, 5-2. They most recently blanked opponent, UW-Whitewater, 7-0. Alania Trgovich leads the Badgers in singles play. The redshirt senior has posted a perfect 3-0 record at the No. 4 position but has also seen action on courts two and three. Trgovich and Hannah Berner lead Wisconsin in doubles on court one with a record of 9-3.
Big Ten Tennis
The Big Ten has already proven to be a tough conference to play in this year. Nine teams are ranked in the ITA DI Women's National Team Rankings, with three in the top 25. No. 14 Northwestern, No. 20 Michigan, and No. 25 Nebraska represent the Big Ten teams in the top 25. No. 26 Minnesota and No. 27 Purdue are right outside, and following them are No. 46 Penn State, No. 50 Illinois, No. 57 Indiana and No. 66 Ohio State.
The Spartans host four of their Big Ten opponents at home this season and will travel to Ohio State for the Big Ten Championship at the end of April.
Home Sweet Home
MSU began its 2012 campaign with nine straight home games. They took their first road trip this past week when they traveled to Florida to face Central Florida and Stetson. It was their first time traveling outside of East Lansing since Oct. 21st when they visited Northern Illinois for the ITA Second Chance Regional. The Spartans play 14 out of their 22 matches at home this season. Out of those 14, four are against Big Ten opponents. They have recorded an 8-2 record so far this season at home.
The Spartans hit the road next weekend for their first away conference matches, visiting both Indiana and Purdue.