Lady Tiger Tennis Anticipates Dual with No. 75 Mississippi State
Feb. 18, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis women's tennis squad will travel to take on the 75th-ranked Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs (6-0) on Thurs., Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. CST. Memphis enters the match boasting a record of 5-3, the program's best start since the 2002-03 season. Thursday's match-up marks the start of a busy weekend for the U of M squad. The Lady Tigers will travel to Tulane on Sat., Feb. 21 and Houston on Sun., Feb. 22.
"Mississippi State is a great team that has started the season off really well," said Memphis head coach Lee Taylor Walker. "MSU should be very confident heading into Thursday's match, but I really think it is going to help us out that we saw their team this fall at the Alabama invite. I think that will help us out a lot. We had a good record against them overall in the fall, so hopefully our girls will take confidence in knowing that and help us come away with a win."
Memphis is coming of a week that offered mixed results for the squad. The Lady Tigers opened last week with their most successful days in the program's history last Tuesday, earning wins over Samford and UAB. The U of M lost to both programs last season. Memphis hadn't beat the UAB Blazers in five seasons. On Friday, Memphis fell at the hands of C-USA foe SMU and UT-Arlington. SMU is currently in a tie for 75th place with the Lady Tiger's next opponent Mississippi State and Kansas. Memphis bounced back on Sunday with a defeat of Stephen F. Austin, 6-1.
Last week the U of M was led by a stellar effort by junior Ashley Murdock in both singles and doubles. Murdock, a native of Memphis, led off the week with wins against opponents from Samford and UAB. She also teamed with Sarah Irvin in doubles to knock off opposition from both Samford and UAB. Murdock finished the week with a record of 4-1. She was dealt her only loss by Pavi Francis of SMU. Murdock was also the only Lady Tiger to earn a singles win against UT-Arlington.
Robyn Jones, a freshman from Baton Rouge, La., had a successful outing last Tuesday against Samford and UAB. It was a cluth victory by the freshman that secured the victory for the U of M over the Bulldogs of Samford. Memphis had the lead at 3-2 at the time, but Samford's player at the No. 6 position had the early lead over the U of M's Amanda Brown, so the fate of the match all fell on Jones' shoulders. She also came up clutch in the doubles portion of the match, when her and partner Marjorie Ondeck battled back to take down Shannon Hartmann and Jessica Diamond, 9-7, securing the doubles point for the girls in the Blue and Gray.
Mississippi State is coming off of victories over Tulane and 56th-ranked South Alabama last weekend. Leading the top of the singles line-up for the Lady Bulldogs has been senior Martina Banikova. Banikova enters Thursday's dual boasting a mark of 3-2. The No. 2 position for MSU has been anchored by Olesya Tsigvintseva, who holds a 4-2 record so far this spring.
The No. 1 doubles tandem for Coach Tracy Lane's squad has been Tsigvintseva and Natalia Mayuk. The duo has posted a 3-3 record in 2009.
The Lady Tigers and Lady Bulldogs last squared off in the opening match of the 2003 season. Mississippi State was victorious in the match, 4-1. The Lady Tigers went to post a 16-7 mark on the season.