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EUGENE – At the conclusion of finals this week, the No. 54 Oregon women’s tennis team plays three road duals in a five-day span starting on March 21.
The Ducks (7-6) travel to No. 58 Boise State, No. 71 Utah and Brigham Young on Monday (11 a.m. Mountain/10 a.m. Pacific), Wednesday (1 p.m./noon) and Friday (11 a.m./10 a.m.), respectively.
Oregon moved back above .500 and cracked the Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings for the first time this season after upsetting then-No. 20 Washington, 4-3, last Friday. The victory was UO’s first over a top-25 school since The Ducks also saw Pavlina Smatova jump 21 spots to No. 79 in the singles rankings.
Boise State is 10-6 overall and 2-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Broncos have a dual singles record of 55-38 (.591 winning percentage) and a doubles mark of 31-17 (.646). Lauren Megale has played each match at No. 1 singles for BSU and Marlena Pietzuch (23-9 overall, 10-5 duals) leads the Broncos in singles victories.
Utah snapped a four-match losing streak with a 4-1 win over Auburn last weekend, which improved the Utes to 5-7 in dual play. Utah boasts a pair of ranked singles players in No. 77 Anastasia Putilina (16-11 overall, 5-6 in duals) and No. 105 Evgenia Kryuchkova (13-10, 7-5).
BYU has dropped four-straight duals and is 4-7 this season. The Cougars’ lineup features a ranked doubles pairing in No. 75 Megan Price and Callie Craig, who boast a 16-7 overall record (5-5 in dual play).
Oregon last faced Utah and Boise State during the 2008 dual campaign. The Ducks defeated the Broncos, 4-3, on Feb. 6, but lost to the Utes, 5-2, on Jan. 25. The last time UO and BYU clashed was in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, a 4-0 win by BYU.
Complete results and a recap will be available on GoDucks.com following each dual.
News and Notes:
Climbing the Ranks – Senior Pavlina Smatova achieved the highest singles ranking of her career in the latest (March 15) ITA singles rankings. Smatova, who is 15-11 overall and 7-6 in dual play, checks in at No. 79 nationally, a 21-spot jump from her March 1 ranking of 100 and up 27 spots from her Feb. 14 debut of 106.
Double Time – Pavlina Smatova and Patricia Skowronski have been a force in doubles play this season, amassing an 18-8 record overall and an 8-4 mark in dual play. The duo spent time in the ITA national rankings, reaching as high as 45th on Feb. 14.
Clutch Win – Junior Trudie du Toit put the finishing touches on Oregon’s biggest dual win in six years with a clutch comeback win against Washington’s Vanja Radunovic. After dropping the first set, 6-4, du Toit won the next 12 games to pull out a three-set win and finish off a 4-3 upset of the No. 20 Huskies. The win shot Oregon into the national rankings this week (No. 54) and gave UO its first win over a top-25 team since March 22, 2005.
Freshmen Anchors – The Ducks have had a three freshmen anchor the back half of their singles lineup. The trio of Rabea Stuckemann (12-10 overall, 7-6 in duals), Lana Buttner (8-9, 4-5) and Pascale Neubert (6-5) are a combined 26-24 this season. The trio has come up big in Oregon’s trip to Boulder, Colo., as Buttner pulled out a clutch three-set win against Colorado to send the Ducks to a 4-3 dual victory on Feb. 18 and all three won their singles matches against New Mexico on Feb. 19.
Pulling Rank – The Ducks have spent time in the ITA team rankings in every season under head coach Paul Reber after cracking the top 75 this week. UO has been ranked in the top 50 in three separate seasons under Reber, most recently during the 2008-09 campaign (45th). Oregon cracked the top 25 in 2007, reaching as high as 22nd and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.