COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 30th-ranked Razorback women’s tennis team finishes up the non-conference portion of its schedule this weekend as they travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on DePaul and Ohio State on Saturday and Sunday. DePaul comes into this weekend as the No. 73 team in the nation according to ITA and Ohio State is No. 64 this week. Both matches will add to the list of ranked opponents so far this season as Arkansas will have faced seven teams in the Top-75 in their first ten matches.
The Razorbacks moved up two spots in the ITA rankings as they head into their final non-conference matches of the 2012 spring season. They now sit at No. 30 with a 6-2 overall record and begin what will be four straight matches away from Fayetteville. After this weekend’s matches, the Hogs will travel to Vanderbilt and Kentucky to open the SEC season.
This weekend will be the first time Arkansas has faced DePaul and only the second time in school history to have faced Ohio State. The Hogs and Buckeyes last played in 1988 season with the Razorbacks taking the victory.
The Razorbacks have the pleasure of bringing in one of the strongest players to start the season in junior Claudine Paulson
. The native of Ecuador has only lost one match this dual season and in each of her wins, has yet to lose a set. She had her best performance of the season last week against Yale when she defeated Hanna Yu in shutout style, 6-0, 6-0.
Arkansas has also been getting strong play from sophomore Laurie Gingras
. In only her first season as a Razorback, and continues to go through her second full season in collegiate tennis, she seems to be feeling right at home on the Razorback roster as she has compiled an 11-6 overall record and is only one win behind Claudine Paulson
for the team lead. This dual season, Gingras has split her time between the No. 5 and 6 positions and is 6-2.
Last weekend against Oklahoma and Yale, Gingras was the only Razorback player to go undefeated in singles and was part of the winning doubles team with Paulson that defeated the 22nd-ranked team of Marie-Pier Huet and Whitney Ritchie and helped clinch the doubles point in Arkansas’ match against Oklahoma.
“Laurie has done a lot of good things so far this year,” head coach Michael Hegarty
said. “She’s played with a great spirit and it’s great to see her blossoming and winning matches as a result of that.”
Ohio State will be the host school this weekend for both matches and bring in a 4-5 record so far this year. The Buckeyes are coming off their first road win of the season with a 4-3 victory over Louisville on Wednesday and boast the No. 123 singles player in the country in Fidan Manashirova. The California native won seven singles matches to open the 2012 year, but dropped her first decision last week in the Buckeyes match against Tennessee. Manashirova bounced back against Louisville with her 11th win of the year at the No. 2 spot.
DePaul is coming off a hard-fought 4-3 loss on the road last week at Indiana. The loss snapped an eight-match winning streak for the Blue Demons. This weekend’s matches mark the fourth and fifth ranked teams DePaul’s has faced this season. The women are 2-1 against ranked foes with wins over then-No. 36 SMU and No. 37 North Carolina State.
The Blue Demons top players so far this year are Patricia Fargas and Gia McKnight. Fargas has posted a 7-0 mark in the No. 2 position, while the freshman has won her last nine singles matches. Fargas has played well in Columbus as the freshman reached the Semifinals of the ITA Midwest Regional in the fall. During her run at the Regional, she defeated two ranked players on her way to becoming the first Blue Demon to reach the semifinals of the regional since 2009. Fargas boasts a 19-8 singles mark and is 9-1 in duals this spring.
McKnight boasts a 14-10 singles mark and has won her last three matches. The senior has posted an 83-54 singles mark in her three-plus seasons and is 7-2 this season in the No. 3 position.
The Razorbacks’ first match of the weekend will come against DePaul on Saturday at 11 a.m. and then they will finish the trip with a match against Ohio State on Sunday, also at 11 a.m. Both matches will be played on the Ohio State courts and live stats will be available for the match against Ohio State.