After suffering a tough loss in the Sunflower Showdown on Wednesday, the K-State women’s tennis team will try to win its first conference match of the season Saturday.
The Wildcats (3-12, 0-8 Big 12 Conference) suffered their tenth consecutive loss in two days as KU defeated them 5-2 at the First Serve Tennis Center in Lawrence. With only three matches left before the Big 12 Championships, the Wildcats will play their first home match in almost three weeks in the No. 63 Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-5, 4-3 Big 12).
As the Wildcats lost to the Jayhawks for the second year in a row, junior team captain Natasha Vieira and Mariya Slupska were the only bright spots for K-State, winning 8-3. The combination has done well for the Wildcats lately, posting a 3-1 record in the last four doubles matches.
After having success this season, Vieira said she was happy to be named a team captain and thought her doubles team played well against Kansas.
“It’s quite an honor [to be named team captain] because it means that you have been selected from the rest of the players as a hardworking person,” Vieira said. “Me and Mariya [Slupska] won the doubles and we were pretty solid, but there’s still room for improvement.”
Though the Wildcats are still in search of their first conference win of the season, coach Steve Bietau said he is not worried as much about winning as he is about playing better.
“Everybody wants to win, that’s a given,” he said. “What’s more of a concern for me is that we just keep learning from our mistakes, and players like Mariya [Slupska] and Nina [Sertic] show that they are benefitting from the experience from these matches.”
As the Wildcats are scheduled to play their ninth ranked opponent of the season, K-State will try to earn their fourth win and first conference victory of the season. Though Nebraska is not the highest ranked team the Wildcats have played this season, Bietau said he thinks Nebraska should be ranked higher than No. 63.
“My personal opinion is that [Nebraska] is a little better than their ranking,” Bietau said. “Based on the talent they have, I think it will be another tough match.”
K-State’s match against Nebraska tomorrow is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., weather permitting at the Wamego Recreation Complex in Wamego.