FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The No. 49 University of Arkansas women’s tennis team will conclude the regular season this weekend, finishing the season with three matches. The Razorbacks (11-14, 3-9 SEC) will host No. 63 LSU at home Saturday on Senior Day, and then finish the season with two matches at the University of Houston on Sunday.
Last weekend, Arkansas went 1-2 on the road. The team dropped a pair of conference matches and earned a 7-0 victory in a neutral site match against Kennesaw State. On Friday the Razorbacks upset bid came up just short, as they fell 4-2 to No. 28 Tennessee. On Sunday, they split a pair of matches, defeating the Owls in the morning before dropping the match to the Bulldogs in the afternoon.
This Saturday, the Razorbacks will honor lone senior Claudine Paulson with a senior ceremony between doubles and singles. Paulson completes a very successful collegiate career, entering Senior Day with an overall record of 78-47 in singles, and a 77-54 record in doubles. Paulson currently leads the team with 18 singles victories, which is tied for the most in the SEC. She also is 9-3 in SEC play after getting out to a conference best 8-0 start. She is currently third in the SEC in conference victories.
“Claudine is the perfect example of what you want when you recruit a student athlete.” Arkansas head coach Michael Hegarty said. “She’s done a fantastic job of maturing over her college career. She has had four really good years of competition for us. What is really great about Claudine is that she got better every year she was here. She is finishing on a very good note, and we’re really proud of her efforts this year. Especially as the only upperclassman on the team this year, she’s taken on an extra role for us.”
LSU enters the match ranked No. 63 in the nation. They are 8-14 this season, and just 1-11 in conference play. Since their lone SEC win, they have lost six matches in a row. LSU holds a slim 18-16 lead in the all-time series, but Arkansas is on a five match winning streak. Last season Arkansas went 2-0 versus their regional rival, winning the last match of the regular season in Baton Rouge, La., then defeating the Tigers again in their next match, the first round of the SEC Tournament in Oxford, Miss.
Houston enters the weekend at 12-9, playing in Conference USA. Arkansas leads the all-time series 11-10, but has not played a dual match against the Cougars since 2000. UH was in Fayetteville this fall, competing in the Razorback Classic.
“LSU is always our last conference match of the season.” Hegarty said. “We’ve had some really close matches with them over the years. Down there last year we had a really tight one and snuck out with a win. They’ll be looking to do the same thing here and spoil our last home match. I expect it to be extremely competitive and our recent play indicates we’ll play really well.”
First serve against LSU is at 1 p.m. The first 100 fans get Razorback Tennis lapel pins, and there is free pizza while supplies last. The Razorbacks then head to Houston, Texas on Sunday, where they will play two matches against University of Houston beginning at 1 p.m. On Sunday the bracket will be announced for the SEC Women’s Tennis Tournament, which will be held April 17-21 in Starkville, Miss.