EUGENE – A week removed from its first road test, the Oregon women’s tennis team will be tested once again in Minnesota when the Ducks faceoff against No. 29 Oklahoma State and Minnesota this weekend. UO looks to rebound in Minneapolis after dropping both of its matches on the road last week.
Lana Buttner and Sofia Hager looks to continue their dominance in doubles play after going 2-0 last weekend against Iowa and DePaul, pushing their winning streak to five. Hager also saw her five-match win streak in singles action snapped after falling to DePaul’s Jasmine Kling 7-6, 6-1.A DUAL WITH THE COWGIRLS
Oregon’s first opponent in Minneapolis, Minn., will be No. 29 Oklahoma State. The Ducks and Cowgirls face off at 11 a.m. (PST) on Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Baseline Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota. OSU enters the match just 1-3 on the season with a roster than boasts six freshman, two sophomores, one junior, and one senior.
The Cowgirls return three players with 10-plus singles wins, including All-Big-12 honoree Kanyapat Narattana who reached the NCAA Championships in doubles last season. Narrattana also is ranked 59th in singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Maria Alvarez went 23-13 for Oklahoma State last season with 12 of her wins coming at the No. 4 singles slot.
Two of OSU’s three losses came to two top-25 team at the time of its match (No. 15 Northwestern and No. 21 Notre Dame) at the ITA Kickoff Weekend and also lost to a top-30 team in No. 28 Tulsa. Oklahoma’s lone win so far has come against No. 49 Arkansas.SCOUTING THE GOPHERS
The Ducks complete their two-match road trip with host, Minnesota, at 9 a.m. (PST) on Sunday. The Gophers are 5-1 on the season so far in dual play with a 1-1 record on the road. Minnesota bounced back from their Saturday loss to Pac-12 foe, Washington State 4-3, to beat Montana 7-0. Minnesota had reeled off four-straight matches at home before it lost to WSU.
The Gophers return eight players for 2014, including Natallia Pintusava who is a two-time All-Big Ten honoree. Minnesota returns five players with double-digit wins in singles action with two in Aria Lamber (20) and Jessika Mozia (22) who had had 20-plus wins.
Tereza Brichacova who went 16-19 last season, mainly in the No. 2 position, is tied at 65 in the ITA singles rankings.
IN THE POLLS
After a pair of losses on the road to Iowa and No. 74 DePaul, the Ducks dropped out of the latest ITA rankings. Oregon has an opportunity to right its ship this weekend with its battle with No. 29 Oklahoma State, who jumped two spots in the latest polls. Nicole Long is back in the ITA singles rankings in a tie at 119 after going 5-1 at the No. 1 singles position and downing Iowa’s then-56th-ranked Ruth Seaborne.
LAST TIME OUT
The Ducks weren’t able to come out with a win in Iowa City, Iowa, last weekend falling to Iowa 5-2 before getting clipped by No. 74 DePaul 4-3. Nicole Long and Jasmine Minor were both able to defeat their ranked opponents in singles play but it wasn’t enough to lift Oregon to victories on the road.
Against the Hawkeyes, the Ducks’ two points came from the No. 1 and No. 4 positions in Long and Sofia Hager. At the No. 1 slot, Long was able to pull off the upset over 56th-ranked Ruth Seaborne in a tiebreaker 6-1, 2-6, 1-0 (11-9). Hager also needed a tiebreaker to win her match No. 4 singles match to down Caitlin Hindmarsh 7-6, 2-6, 1-0 (10-5).
Oregon played much better against the Blue Demons but wasn’t it wasn’t enough as DePaul edged past Oregon 4-3. The Ducks started off well against DPU winning the doubles point, but the Blue Demons were able to snag four wins in singles play to clinch the match. Long and Jasmine Minor were the only two Ducks to win their singles match, with Minor downing No. 52 ranked Ana Vladutu 4-6, 6-0, 1-0 at No. 2 singles.
The Ducks return home after their Minnesota trip to play host to Akron at 4 p.m. on Feb. 22 at the Student Tennis Center. Oregon will take a two-week break before opening conference play on March 7 and March 9 when Oregon entertains Utah and Colorado in Eugene.
NEW FACES ON THE COURT
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.BALANCED ROSTER FOR DUCKS IN 2014
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.
REBER SIGNS TOBITA FOR 2015
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.
NORTH CENTER COURT NAMED IN HONOR OF ALEX ROVELLO
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.