FAYETTEVILLE -- Looking to start 3-0 for the second straight season, the No. 51 University of Arkansas women's tennis team travels to Athens, Ga., where it will face No. 55 Kansas State at ITA Kickoff Weekend beginning Friday. Hosted by the University of Georgia campus at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, the Razorbacks (2-0) will also face either No. 4 Georgia or No. 74 Elon on Saturday.
"The ITA National Indoors is a special event and one that we have always enjoyed the opportunity to compete in," head coach Michael Hegarty said. "We've made some nice runs in the event, and hopefully we can do that again this weekend."
Since the 2009-10 season, Arkansas is 5-3 at ITA Kickoff Weekend, highlighted by a remarkable run that came during the 2010-11 season. The then-No. 23 Razorbacks traveled to South Bend, Ind., where they made a run to the Sweet 16 of the ITA National Indoor Championships by upsetting host No. 4 Notre Dame, 4-3, in the Round of 32 match.
The 2011 upset of No. 4 Notre Dame at ITA Kickoff Weekend remains just one of four over a top-five team in the last 16 years for Arkansas and one of three to take place under Coach Hegarty.
Looking to leave their own mark this year, the Razorbacks are led by No. 71 Yang Pang and reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, No. 115 Shannon Hudson. Pang and teammate Kimberley - Ann Surin also rank No. 46 for doubles in the ITA National Rankings, as Surin enters with a 3-0 individual record.
No. 55 Kansas State matches up with formidable competition of its own, led by one singles player ranked in the ITA National Rankings, Petra Niedermayerova, at No. 42 in the country. The first two-time ITA All-American in school history, Niedermayerova already holds the program's record for career singles wins (89-36) and a 28-21 record against ITA ranked foes.
In all, 120 teams will compete across the country for the 30 berths at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The ITA Division I National Women's Team Indoor Championships will be hosted by the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Adding to the excitement, the ITA Kickoff Weekend will be the first national tournament to use the new, experimental formats decided upon by the ITA Division Operating Committee. The women will be playing all sets in singles and doubles to six games, with regular scoring and tiebreakers at 6-all. However, if a singles match splits sets, a match tiebreaker will be played in lieu of a third set. The men's teams will also play sets in all matches to six games, but with tiebreakers at 5-all and no-ad scoring. All third sets for men's singles will be played out unless the team match is decided.
For more information on Arkansas women's tennis, follow @RazorbackWTEN on Twitter.
ITA Kickoff Weekend Matches 1 and 2
Friday, Jan. 24: No. 51 Arkansas (2-0, 0-0 SEC) vs. No. 55 Kansas State (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Saturday, Jan. 25: No. 51 Arkansas vs. No. 4 Georgia or No. 74 Elon
Teams At A Glance
No. 51 Arkansas Razorbacks (2-0, 0-0 SEC)
Head Coach: Michael Hegarty (Auburn, 1994)
Career Record: 211-151-0 (.583) - 15th season
School Record: 135-112-0 (.543) - 11th season
Last Game: W, 4-3 vs. Wichita State (1/19/14)
Twitter: @ArkRazorbacks, @RazorbackWTEN
No. 71 singles - Yang Pang
No. 115 singles - Shannon Hudson
No. 46 doubles - Yang Pang / Kimberley - Ann Surin
No. 55 Kansas State Wildcats (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Head Coach: Steve Bietau (Doane, 1979)
Career Record: 265-349 (.432) - 30th season
School Record: 265-349 (.432) - 30th season
Last Game: L, 4-3 vs. Texas Tech (4/26/13)
Twitter: @kstatesports, @kstate_gameday
No. 42 singles - Petra Niedermayerova
Arkansas holds an 11-1 advantage over Kansas State in the all-time series between the two programs, which began with the first meeting during the 1980-81 season. The Razorbacks claimed a 5-2 win in the most recent meeting in Fayetteville, Ark., on Feb. 5, 2012. Arkansas is 4-0 all-time against Kansas State at neutral sites.