CEDAR CITY, April 12 - Southern Utah's women's tennis team plays its final two regular-season matches over the next week as it meets Cal State Bakersfield in Las Vegas on Friday, then hosts Idaho State on Monday.
Friday's match will be a rematch of an early-season match in which the Thunderbirds defeated the Roadrunners by a 7-0 count in Las Vegas. Monday's match, the first against the Bengals this season, was originally scheduled for March 20, but was rescheduled. The T-Birds and Roadrunners begin their match at 4:00 p.m. (PDT) while the ISU match is scheduled for noon (MDT).
CSUB (2-10) has been off since meeting the Thunderbirds on March 14. Idaho State (3-9) has lost three straight since a 6-1 win over South Dakota in Las Vegas on March 25. The Bengals host Weber State on Wednesday and travel to Greeley, Colo., to face Northern Colorado prior to Monday's match with SUU.
Sophomore Olia Tatarchenko and freshman Danica Ingwaldson have led the Thunderbirds with 16-1 individual marks, playing primarily at third and fifth singles, respectively. Tatarchenko is 15-1 at No. 3 and 1-0 at No. 2 (where she played in the first match vs. DSC), while Ingwaldson is 14-0 at No. 5 and 2-1 at No. 4.
Ingwaldson has won a school-record 14 consecutive matches, and the 16 wins by Tatarchenko and Ingwaldson are tied atop the SUU single-season victory mark list, along with Veronica Cortes, who won 16 matches during the 2004-05 season. Sixteen wins is SUU single-season dual match record, however, as three of Cortes' 04-05 victories came in fall individual match play.
Up Next: The Thunderbirds compete at the Summit League Championships, scheduled for April 22-23 in Ft. Wayne, Ind.
Head Coach Lenny Lee (Temple, 1977) is in his 18th season as SUU's head coach. The 2008 and 2009 Summit League Coach of the Year, Coach Lee has compiled a career dual match record of 235-215 through 28 years of coaching, including a 65-40 Summit League mark. His teams have claimed six conference or district championships and over the past 15 years his program has been one of the most successful at Southern Utah University. During his 27 years as a collegiate coach, Lee has mentored players at Montgomery County (PA) Community College, Eastern University (PA) and The College of New Jersey as well as at SUU. He picked up his 200th career win in April 2008 when the Thunderbirds upset IPFW in the semi-finals of the Summit League tournament.
- Tatarchenko has the team's second-longest winning streak, at 11, while freshman Alex Ivanova has the team's third-longest winning streak and third best overall record, with 10 wins in a row and a 14-3 overall mark. Senior Kirrily Burden is 12-3 overall, junior Ksusha Nazarova is 12-5 and freshman Afton Staheli is 6-8.
- Ingwaldson has the team's best Summit League record, at a perfect 8-0, while Tatarchenko is 7-1, Burden, Ivanova and Nazarova are all 6-2 and Staheli is 2-3.
- SUU has juggled its lineup somewhat on occasion, particularly in doubles, but is expected to play with the following ladder vs. both CSUB and ISU: Singles: No. 1, Nazarova; No. 2, Ivanova; No. 3, Tatarchenko; No. 4, Burden; No. 5, Ingwaldson; No. 6, Staheli. Doubles: No. 1, Nazarova and Tatarchenko; No. 2, Ivanova and Burden; No. 3, Ingwaldson and Staheli.
- SUU is currently second in the Summit League standings at 7-1 and has wrapped up no worse than a second-place finish.
Player of the Week: Alex Ivanova was named Summit League Player of the Week for her play March 24-27. Ivanova, a freshman from Ivpatoria, Ukraine, went 4-0 at second singles and 3-1 playing both first and second doubles last week, helping the Thunderbirds to a perfect 4-0 week.
T-Birds Picked Third In Summit: Southern Utah was picked to finish third in the Summit League this season in a poll of the conference's coaches. The Thunderbirds received 49 points and one first-place vote to finish behind top pick and defending champion IPFW, which finished with the other eight first-place votes and 64 total points. Oral Roberts, the 2009 champion, was picked second with 52 points, while UMKC was fourth with 44 points. Western Illinois earned 30 points, followed by IUPUI (28 points), South Dakota State (26), Oakland (23) and Centenary (8).
Last Week: The Thunderbirds played their first home match of the season and cruised past Dixie State by a 5-1 count.
Southern Utah and Dixie State's women's tennis teams withstood high winds and chilly temperatures Thursday afternoon in a match the Thunderbirds won by a 5-1 count.
With the temperatures and the wind gusts in the mid-40s the teams opted to begin with singles and forego doubles. Southern Utah took wins at first-through-fifth singles, while Dixie State claimed a win at No. 6 singles.
Ksusha Nazarova made quick work over Lauren Tarver at first singles with a 6-1, 6-0 victory before Danica Ingwaldson got past Kelley Terry by the same count at No. 5 to put SUU up 2-0. The match at No. 4 finished shortly afterward, with Kirrily Burden giving SUU a 3-0 edge with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Hillary Wright.
Dixie's Sarah Hughes gave the Red Storm their point with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Afton Staheli at No. 6.
"The conditions weren't ideal today but we both needed to get a match in," SUU Coach Lenny Lee said. "The players toughed it out and I think they actually had some fun playing today. That wind made it a different game."