Lady Tiger Tennis Oxford-Bound for Battle with Lady Rebels
Feb. 25, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis women's tennis team will make the 90 mile trek to Oxford, Miss., for a dual with the 53rd-ranked Ole Miss Lady Rebels on Thursday at 2 pm., at the Palmer-Salloum Tennis Center. The Lady Tigers are off to their best start since the 2003 season. The ladies of the Blue and Gray currently carry with them a record of 5-5, with losses to three ranked opponents, including the No. 2 Georgia Lady Bulldogs to open the season.
"Ole Miss is a very good team," said Memphis head coach Lee Taylor Walker. "We are to the point where we are starting to believe we can compete with tough opponents like Ole Miss," Walker said. "It is up to myself and our assistants to teach the girls how to capitalize on key opportunities. We have been really close recently with matches against Houston and Mississippi State, but we need to teach the girls how they can come out of those matches as winners."
Ole Miss comes into Thursday boasting a record of 2-2. The Lady Rebels defeated the No. 75 Iowa Hawkeyes in a scuffle in Oxford their last time out. Ole Miss' line-up is anchored by the play of Karen Njissen at the top of the line-up. The sophomore who hails from Heerhoguwaard, Holland, has posted a 3-1 mark in the top slot. Njissen handed 7th-ranked Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia one of only two losses on the season. Gullickson leads a Lady Bulldog squad that is currently ranked as the No. 2 team in the nation.
Playing in the No. 2 slot for Ole Miss is Kristi Boxx. Boxx is 2-2 on the year. She opened the 2009 spring dual season as the 51st-ranked singles player in NCAA Division I women's tennis.
In doubles, the No. 1 duo of Njissen and Box has produced a 2-1 mark on their way to No. 21 doubles ranking. The tandem has victories over Iowa's Sonja Molnar and Jessica Young and Troy's Rawia Elsisi and Leonie Gujit. Their only loss on the season came at the hands of No. 48 Florida International's No. 1 team of Priscilla Castillo and Liset Brito.
Memphis continues to be led by Ashley Murdock, a junior from Memphis, Tenn. Murdock has come out on top in eight of her last nine matches for the Lady Tigers. Her streak started following her opening season loss to Georgia's Gullickson, the No. 7 singles player nationwide. Murdock has went on to win her next five matches before losing to SMU's Pavi Francis in a three-set sturggle that ended with Francis taking the match, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4. Following the loss, Murdock has gone on to put together a string of four consecutive wins, including a defeat of No. 67 Mississippi State's No. 1 singles player, Martina Banikova.
Marjorie Ondeck, a junior from Monroe, Ct., is coming off of a win against Houston's Lucy Forward at the No. 3 position last Sunday. Ondeck is 6-7 in her third season as member of the U of M squad. In doubles, the twosome of Murdock and Sarah Irvin has a 9-4 record heading into Thursday's match. The pair is coming off of a 8-5 defeat of Houston's Lynley Wasson and Joanna Kacprzyk.
The Lady Tigers will hit the road for another meeting with an SEC opponent. The U of M will face-off with No. 17 Arkansas on Sat., Feb. 28 in Fayetteville, Ark.