April 6, 2013
#36 Memphis at #21 Notre Dame
Courtney Tennis Center - South Bend, Ind.
Sunday 12 p.m. CT/1 p.m. ET
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - After closing out their 2013 home schedule with a perfect 14-0 mark, the No. 36 University of Memphis women's tennis team (15-4) heads north to face No. 21 Notre Dame (12-7) in their first-ever match against the Fighting Irish.
"Notre Dame is a solid team with a lot of tradition of being an elite program," said head coach Lee Taylor Walker. "But, the girls on our team chose Memphis over other traditionally good programs because they wanted to start their own traditions. At this point in the season, I expect our team to be fully mentally and physically ready. It will require a great effort, but I think it's a match that we can not only win, but dominate."
Memphis closed out its home slate last Saturday with matches against Conference USA opponents UTEP and Southern Miss, taking 7-0 wins to extend its shutout streak to seven matches.
With her win against UTEP, Courtney Collins moved into sole possession of second all-time in career singles wins at Memphis with her 92nd victory. Later that day, she moved closer to the school record of 97 with a win over Southern Miss in the final home match of her career.
After a win at No. 6 over Southern Miss, Caroline Wegner became the fourth Lady Tiger this season to amass 20 singles wins, following Skylar Kuykendall (27-6), Alyssa Hibberd (23-8) and Liza Tymchenko (22-11). In doubles, Hibberd and Tiffany Welcher lead the team with a 23-9 record while Wegner has totaled a 20-8 record this season.
Notre Dame comes into the weekend with a 12-7 record. The Fighting Irish have faced many top teams from around the country this season with six of their seven losses coming to teams ranked in the top 20. Last weekend, Notre Dame suffered a 4-3 loss to Tulsa, who Memphis fell to earlier in the season. The Fighting Irish have several wins over ranked opponents with two victories over No. 27 Georgia Tech along with wins over No. 28 Tennessee, No. 32 Indiana, No. 42 Baylor and No. 54 Illinois. No. 48 Brittany Sanders has played the No. 1 spot in all of Notre Dame's matches this season. The Fighting Irish have two doubles teams ranked with No. 52 Sanders and Julie Sabacinski and No. 76 Jennifer Kellner and Christine McGaffigan. At the Dick Vitale Classic in November, Memphis posted a 2-1 record over Notre Dame as Collins and Gray defeated Sanders and Sabacinski, 8-5, while Liza Tymchenko won 6-2, 6-2 over Sabacinski. Alyssa Hibberd suffered a 5-7, 6-4, 3-6 loss to Sanders in Memphis' lone loss to UND.
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 33-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. Memphis ended 2013 with a 14-0 mark at home, the second-most wins the Lady Tigers have compiled on their home court in one season. The school record is 15, which was achieved in the 1976-77 season, when Memphis went 15-4 at home. Under head coach Lee Taylor Walker, the Lady Tigers are 45-6 at home.
Memphis in the Rankings
Courtney Collins is ranked No. 34 in singles with a 13-5 record in dual matches this season. Collins also ranks in doubles with Kelly Gray at No. 51 in the nation, while the German duo of Stefanie Mikesz and Caroline Wegner are No. 64.
||Memphis Team Rankings
Freshman Skylar Kuykendall has posted a 27-6 record in her first season at Memphis with just three of her wins going to three sets. The Alabama native has won 11-straight matches, and 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. Kuykendall's 27 wins currently ties her for seventh in the school record books.
Upperclassmen Making History
Collins moved into second in career singles wins at the University of Memphis after her two wins last weekend. Collins enters Saturday's matches with a 93-40 record, and needs just five more victories to break Stacy Seamans' (1979-83) record of 97. Junior Stefanie Mikesz entered the top-10 in career singles wins last month, and is now eighth with 63 career victories.
In doubles, Kelly Gray is fifth in the school record books with 77 career wins. Collins has tallied 74 during her career for sixth, while Mikesz is eighth with 63 wins.
Memphis will wrap up the regular season on Apr. 14 with a showdown against Conference USA rival Tulsa in Oklahoma. The match is set to begin at noon. Following the Tulsa match, the Lady Tigers will look to capture their first conference title at the C-USA Championships at the University of Houston's John E. Hoff Courts, Apr. 18-21.
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.