K-State tennis heads to ITA Season Kick-off in California

Iva Bago, sophomore in kinesiology, returns a volley during tennis practice October 22, 2014 at the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium. (Parker Robb | The Collegian)

K-State women’s tennis will head westward to Los Angeles, California this weekend to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Season Kick-Off.

The Wildcats stand in as the No. 64-ranked team in the ITA rankings this season after a successful fall season and finish in the ITA Central Region. K-State will face No. 74 UC Irvine on Saturday and then, depending on the result, will face either No. 1 UCLA or Marshall on Sunday.

K-State will face uncharted territory this weekend as the program has never faced UCLA, UC Irvine or Marshall.

The Wildcats’ weekend will begin against UC Irvine. The Anteaters have garnered a No. 74 ranking with the help of junior Sarah Gong who recorded a 10-2 mark in the fall season. UC Irvine completed its 2014 spring season with a 17-7 record last year. Although K-State has not faced the Anteaters, the Wildcats bring in a 4-2 mark against Big West Conference opposition.

UCLA, the home team of sorts, has achieved their No. 1 status with strong singles and doubles play. UCLA holds on to the No. 1 doubles team in the country in Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips. The Bruins also attain two of the top-three singles players in the country in No. 2 Robin Anderson and No. 3 Chanelle Van Nyugen. K-State is 24-39 all-time against Pac-12 Conference teams.

Although Marshall is unranked to begin the season, they are coming off a 6-1 victory over the College of Charleston. The Thundering Herd bring in a 14-8 mark from last season led by sophomore Derya Turhan, who ranks No. 116 in the country.

K-State was able to give first-year head Coach Danielle Steinberg her first win on Jan. 17 with a commanding 6-1 victory over visiting Northern Iowa.

The Wildcats feature two players on significant winning streaks: senior Amina St. Hill and sophomore Livia Cirnu. St. Hill is on a three-game win streak for the second time this season.

K-State will kickoff the ITA at 11 a.m. Saturday.