April 11, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. -
The Michigan State women's tennis team (8-10, 0-7 Big Ten) hits the road this weekend for a pair of Big Ten matches, traveling to Iowa and No. 17 Nebraska. The Spartans and Hawkeyes face each other on Friday, April 13th, at 5 p.m. MSU then travels to Nebraska on Sunday, April 15th at noon.
Scouting the Spartans
The Spartans were blanked in both home matches this weekend falling to No. 14 Northwestern, 7-0, and No. 19 Illinois, 7-0. In the match against No. 19 Illinois the Spartans recorded a victory in doubles play on court three thanks to the efforts of freshman Julianne Gruber and sophomore Katarina Lingl. The two dropped the Fighting Illini pairing of Falkin and Kedzierski by a score of 8-6.
Looking at the Hawkeyes
Iowa hosts the Spartans on Friday after coming off of a 6-1 loss to Purdue. The Hawkeyes are 7-11 this season and 1-6 in the Big Ten, notching their lone conference win over Penn State, 4-3. Against Purdue, Morven McCulloch was the Hawkeye to tally a point, defeating Lynda Xepoleas, 7-6 (13-11), 6-4, at the No. 2 spot. No. 103 Sonja Molnar leads Iowa in singles play with a 12-5 record on court one.
The Huskers (20-2, 6-1 Big Ten) most recently dropped Indiana, 5-2, to capture their twentieth win. No. 43 Mary Weatherholt leads Nebraska in singles play with a team-best 11-4 record on court one. Weatherholt is 14-4 overall, while No. 11 Patricia Veresova is 14-3. The pairing of No. 44 Geibert and Weinsten have gone 13-2 at the No. 1 spot.
Overall, the Michigan State Spartans have recorded a winning record of 11-6 (.647) at the No. 6 position in singles play. Redshirt junior Dana Guentert has played eight of her singles matches on court six, going 6-2. Freshman Julianne Gruber has also seen time on court six, going 4-2 in her debut season for the Green and White.
How They Rank
MSU is 0-6 against ranked opponents, falling to No. 11 Michigan, 7-0, and No. 26 Minnesota, 5-2. The Spartans most recently fell to No. 41 Indiana, 6-1, and No. 33 Purdue, 6-1. The Spartans faced two ranked opponents this past weekend, with No. 14 Northwestern and No. 19 Illinois, falling to each by a score of 7-0. The Spartans square off against No. 17 Nebraska this weekend, making it their fifth ranked opponent in the past six matches.
The Spartans have yet to win a match on the road and have gone 0-4 in their away matches this season. After facing Iowa and Nebraska this weekend, MSU will travel to Ohio State on Friday, April 20th. MSU then plays its last home match on Sunday, April 22nd before heading back to Columbus for the Big Ten Tournament.
Big Ten Tennis
The Big Ten has 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 four in the top 25. No. 11 Northwestern, No. 14 Michigan, No. 17 Nebraska and No. 23 Illinois represent the Big Ten teams in the top 25. No. 31 Minnesota, No. 34 Purdue, No. 47 Indiana, No. 52 Penn State, and No. 61 Ohio State round out the ranked Big Ten teams.
The Spartans host five 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.
Moving on to Conference Play
MSU went 8-3 in nonconference play this season. They won all eight of their nonconference matches in East Lansing, and only fell in one at home in a 5-2 loss to Akron.
The Spartans wrapped up the nonconference portion of their schedule with a win at home over Ball State. MSU blanked the Cardinals, 7-0 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.
Home Sweet Home
The Spartans kicked off their 2012 season with nine straight home matches, going 7-2 in that period. The Spartans play 14 out of their 22 matches at home this season. Out of those 14, five are against Big Ten opponents. They have recorded an 8-6record so far this season at home. The Spartans have one home match left after this weekend when they host Penn State on April 22nd.
The Spartans wrap up their regular season next weekend, traveling to Ohio State on Friday, April 20th and then return home to host Penn State on Sunday, April 22nd.