March 15, 2013
Illlinois State at #31 Memphis
The Racquet Club of Memphis
Saturday 2 p.m.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The No. 31 University of Memphis women's tennis team (10-4) continues its lengthy homestand Saturday with a 2 p.m. match against Illinois State (6-7) at The Racquet Club of Memphis. Admission is free to the event.
Memphis went 3-0 last week with its first win in program history over conference foe UCF, 6-1. The Lady Tigers followed with sweeps over Saint Louis and Murray State with senior Courtney Collins moving into fourth all-time in career singles wins at the U of M.
"The little break was good for our team," said head coach Lee Taylor Walker. "We got back to practice yesterday and we're going to focus on three things the next three weeks - 1. Defining each individual's game a little more clearly, and knowing each other's strengths and what they prefer to close out matches with, 2. Suffering together in tough fitness and conditioning to build a deeper bond and belief and 3. Doing the uncomfortable things."
|Scouting the Redbirds
Illinois State has compiled a 6-7 record thus far with three of its losses coming to top-50 teams. The Redbirds fell Thursday to McNeese State, 5-2, and have now dropped five of their last six matches with setbacks to No. 50 Tulane, Lamar, Illinois-Chicago and UTEP. ISU came back to defeat New Orleans on Tuesday, 4-3, for its first win in nearly a month.
Memphis holds a 6-3 record against the Redbirds with eight of the nine matches being played before 1986. The Lady Tigers last took on ISU back in 2011, coming away with a 6-1 win at home.
This is Our House
The Lady Tigers have dominated opponents that have come to play in Memphis over the past few seasons. Memphis owns a 28-match home winning streak that spans back to Apr. 9, 2009 when the Lady Tigers fell to Arkansas State, 6-1, in their last home match of the season. Under head coach Lee Taylor Walker, the Lady Tigers are 40-6 at home.
Memphis in the Rankings
Memphis received its highest ranking in school history on Feb. 26 when the Lady Tigers came in at No. 22 in the nation after jumping 17 spots in the poll. Memphis ranked No. 31 in the latest ITA poll.
Courtney Collins is ranked No. 39 in singles with an 8-5 record in dual matches this season. Collins also ranks in doubles with Kelly Gray at No. 44 in the nation, while the German duo of Stefanie Mikesz and Caroline Wegner are No. 63.
||Memphis Team Rankings
Freshman Skylar Kuykendall has posted a 23-6 record in her first season at Memphis with just three of her wins going to three sets. The Alabama native has recorded a 9-1 mark in her last ten matches with her only loss coming in a three-set tiebreaker. Kuykendall is closing in on the program's single-season singles wins record of 32, which was set during the 1981-82 season by Stacy Seamans.
Upperclassmen Making History
With her win Saturday, Collins moved into fourth in career singles wins at the University of Memphis. Collins enters Saturday's match with an 88-40 record, and needs just 10 more victories to break Stacy Seamans' (1979-83) record of 97. Junior Stefanie Mikesz entered the top-10 in career singles wins last week with her victories over Saint Louis and Murray State to rank tenth with 59 wins.
In doubles, Kelly Gray is fifth in the school record books with 76 career wins. Collins has tallied 73 during her career for sixth, while Mikesz is tied for eighth with 59 wins.
Memphis will continue its eight-match homestand next Saturday with a 9:30 a.m. match against South Alabama followed by a 2 p.m. match with Southern Illinois.
Connect with the Lady Tigers
Fans can follow the Memphis women's tennis team on Twitter @UofMTennis and also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MemphisWomensTennis.