Wildcat tennis returns home for 2 weekend matches

Junior Iva Bago takes her stance to receive and return the serve from her opponent while playing doubles with sophomore Carolina Costamagna during a women's tennis practice on Oct. 7, 2015. (File Photo Parker Robb | The Collegian)

The K-State tennis team is coming off a split last weekend in New York, and the Wildcats are looking to build momentum this weekend as they get ready for Big 12 play.

The Wildcats take on two ranked opponents in No. 58 University of Denver and No. 50 Southern Methodist University.

“Both Denver and SMU are tough teams that started their season very well and are coming in with a lot of confidence,” K-State head coach Danielle Steinberg said to K-State Sports. “We saw SMU in the fall, and I believe we match up very well with both teams, so I am expecting close matches both days.”

The Wildcats open with the Denver Pioneers on Friday at 2 p.m. This is the first meeting between K-State and Denver, who is coming into the match with a record of 9-2. The Pioneers have a strong No.1 for singles and a strong pair for doubles as well. The Wildcats will need to come out strong if they want to defeat Denver.

K-State takes on SMU on Sunday starting at 11 a.m. The Wildcats won their only regular season matchup against the Mustangs when they played back in 2003.

K-State also beat SMU in the fall in a tournament hosted by the Mustangs in Dallas. The Mustangs won the doubles point in that match. The Wildcats, however, won every singles match that day.

Eyes should be on the No. 1 singles spot as both freshman Ana Garcia Navas and redshirt sophomore Sara Castellano face SMU’s No. 1, senior Hristina Dishkova, who is 7-0 this season.

This means that the No.1 position in singles will play a vital part to both matchups this weekend.

“This weekend is a great opportunity for us, being it is the first time this year that we are hosting nationally-ranked teams,” Steinberg told K-State Sports. “We all know the significance of playing at home, and I am hoping we can capitalize on this advantage.”

The Wildcats are 3-0 at home so far this year and will continue to utilize their home-court advantage as they host Baylor on Thursday to open up Big 12 play.