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Oregon Faces First Road Test in Iowa City
Release Date: 02/04/2014
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EUGENE – After starting the season 4-0 at home and allowing just two points to their opponents, the Oregon women’s tennis team will face its first road test of the season this Friday and Saturday against Iowa and DePaul in Iowa City, Iowa. The Ducks will first open with the host, Iowa, at 11 a.m. (PST) on Friday before facing the Blue Demons on Saturday at 11 a.m. (PST).

Sofia Hager is riding a five-match winning streak heading into the match versus Iowa after dropping her first match of the year at the IU Winter Invitational. Freshman Allie Hueffner is on a four-match win streak for the Ducks after dropping her first three singles matches at the Bulldog Classic back in November. Jasmine Minor is on a four-match win streak at the No. 2 singles slot since the start of dual play after going on a four-match skid to end the tournament season.

The Ducks have now opened the dual season 4-0 in back-to-back seasons, and their third in the past four years. Oregon went 8-0 before dropping its first match last year at Akron, 4-3. UO will have an opportunity for retribution against Akron on its home court on Feb. 22 when the Ducks host the Zips.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the governing body for collegiate tennis, implemented some experimental rule changes that will take place during the dual season until mid-February. In doubles play, the scoring format will remain the same except the set will only be played until six (previously 8) with a tiebreaker at 6-6.  The scoring format remains the same for singles action with the victor winning 2-of-3 sets, but instead of playing a full third set to determine the winner, it will be decided by a 10-point super tiebreaker. The other experimental rule change is that there will be no warm-up with one’s opponent prior to the start of the singles or doubles matches.

Oregon opens its four-match road swing with Iowa at 11 a.m. (PST) on Friday, Feb. 7, at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center. The Hawkeyes opened their season 2-0, sweeping Nebraska-Omaha and Northern Iowa at home before dropping two-straight to Oklahoma (6-1) and Memphis (4-0) on the road.

In dual play, Iowa is currently 13-8 in singles and 7-4 in doubles action. The Hawkeyes were 12-0 in singles before their two-match skid against Sooners and Tigers.

UI was 11-13 overall last season and 3-8 in Big East play while going 1-1 at the conference tournament, falling to Michigan 4-2. First-team All-Big Ten honoree Ruth Seaborne returns for UI after going 13-8 in singles and 16-7 in doubles action. The No. 56th-ranked senior from London, England, is currently 2-2 on the year in singles and 3-1 in doubles with teammate Morven McCulloch.

Iowa assistant coach Courtney Nagle will have gone full circle in her tennis career when the Hawkeyes play Oregon. Nagle was a four-year letterwinner (2002-04) at Oregon, guiding the Ducks to their highest Intercollegiate Tennis Association ranking in school history (No. 22). She also advanced to the NCAA Tournament in both singles and doubles during the 2003 season and earned Oregon’s first women’s doubles All-America honors. She also garnered the ITA’s National Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award for her efforts. Before joining Iowa, Nagle played professionally in the Women’s Tennis Association, winning 15-career doubles titles and climbed as high as No. 97 in the doubles rankings.

The Ducks wrap up their time in Iowa City, Iowa, with a neutral match against a DePaul team that has won three-straight matches and upset three ranked opponents in the process, including a huge win over No. 25 TCU. The 74th-ranked Blue Demons’ most recent victory came on Feb. 1, when they downed No. 65 Louisville, 6-1. DePaul’s lone loss this year has been to No. 7 Texas A&M at the ITA Indoor Qualifier.

Junior Patricia Fargas was recently named Big East Player of the Week for DePaul after going 5-0 in singles and doubles to guide the Blue Demons past TCU and Louisville. Playing in the No. 1 position for DePaul, Fargas has racked up a 12-7 overall record and 2-1 mark in dual play this season. The junior from Barcelona, Spain, has posted a 46-26 singles mark and 41-26 doubles record in just two season.

The Blue Demons return sophomore Ana Vladtu, who finished her freshman campaign 27-12 at No. 3 singles. Vladtu is currently No. 52 in the ITA singles rankings despite going just 5-10 this season. The Craiova, Romania, native is also ranked in the doubles circuit, coming in at No. 38 with teammate Jasmin King.

Jerret Fisher also returns for her sophomore season – having recorded a whopping 31-7 mark in singles play last season – to lead the Blue Demons along with Kelsey Lawson, Fargas and Vladtu who all had 20-plus wins last year.

The No. 72-ranked Ducks had another successful homestand at the Student Tennis Center this past weekend, defeating both in-state foes – Portland and Portland State – 6-1 both days. Junior transfer Jasmine Minor went 3-0 on the weekend downing both her opponents in singles play and then teamed up with Nicole Long to win doubles No. 1 against Portland State.

Freshman Maja Salibasic earned her first collegiate victory at No. 6 singles against Portland State’s Ayaka Terakawa 6-1, 6-4. Minor was solid for the Ducks, posting a 4-0 record at No. 2 singles while Sofia Hager boasted a 4-0 record in dual play, including a 3-0 record at the No. 3 spot. Hager is also 3-0 in doubles action with teammate Lana Butter. The pair is 2-0 in the third doubles position and 1-0 when playing at doubles No. 2.

For the first time since the 2010 season, Oregon will have five freshmen on the roster. Lina Åkesson, Allie Hueffner, Kadie Hueffner, Marlou Kluiving and Maja Salibasic look to compete with the six upperclassmen for one of the six spots in singles action.

Åkesson hails from Bunkeflostrand, Sweden, where she compiled a 23-19 mark in the ITF junior girl’s circuit and reached as high as No. 562 in rankings. Allie and Kadie Hueffner come to Oregon having won back-to-back OSAA State Championships their junior and senior year in doubles play. Allie also compiled a 21-18 record in singles play competing in multiple United States Tennis Association matches while Kadie had a 23-15 mark.

Kluiving, a native of Eext, Netherlands, joins the Ducks with experience in the ITF circuit as well as experience with the Dutch National Team. She was ranked No. 46 in singles play and No. 40 for doubles in the Netherlands. Salibasic rounds out the group of freshmen for Oregon, hailing from Lukavac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She was once the top-ranked junior player in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 10, 12, 14 and 16 under categories in addition to her experience in ITF tournaments.

The Oregon women’s tennis team will have a nice mix of upper classmen and underclassmen representation this year with a trio of seniors and juniors and five freshmen. Lana Buttner, Lana Buttner and Rabea Stueckemann represent the senior class while Sofia Hager, Nicole Long and Jasmine Minor.

Head coach Paul Reber announced the signing of five-star athlete Alyssa Tobita of Mililani High School. The Mililani, Hawaii, native is a three-time Hawaii High School Athletic Association champion. Tobita also led the Trojans to their sixth-straight Oahu Interscholastic Association title last spring, her third since attending Mililani. She enters the 2014 season, her senior campaign, seeking her fourth-straight singles title.

In front of a crowd of over 200 friends, family, teammates and members of the UO community, the Oregon men’s tennis team hosted a court dedication ceremony in honor of Alex Rovello on Nov. 9, 2013, at the Student Tennis Center.  The program officially named the center court on the north side of the facility the Alex Rovello Court, a fitting tribute to the remarkable career and life of Rovello, who passed away in a diving accident.

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