Risky Business- The Lady’Backs had their hands full this past weekend in Tulsa with two matches against regional rivals Tulsa and Oklahoma State. The squad not only proved they could win the close matches, but also proved they could win in hostile environments. Arkansas came from being down 0-1 against Tulsa last Friday night in front of a boisterous Golden Hurricane crowd to eventually win the match after four hours of intense tense tennis. The Lady’Backs returned to the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on Sunday for a dual match against Oklahoma State. This time, Arkansas won the doubles point and never looked back, winning the match 4-3.
Head Start- Often times the doubles point in a dual match goes overlooked or not taken seriously. Not true for the 2004-05 Lady Razorbacks, who have captured the advantage in four of their first five matches this spring.
Undefeated- Two Lady’Back players remain a perfect in singles during the 2005 spring season. Junior transfer Karina Ledaja and freshman Maryori Franco are both 5-0 after picking up two wins each this past weekend against Tulsa and Oklahoma State. All of Franco’s five wins have come on the No. 2 court, whereas Ledaja’s have come from courts three and four, 2-3, respectively.
Undefeated, Pt. 2- In doubles, one Lady’Back pair is undefeated in the 2005 spring season. Juniors Melissa Cornett and Vlatka Jovanovic are 3-0 after picking up two tough wins this past weekend against Tulsa’s Pereira and Delport and Oklahoma State’s Kubicikova and Collins.
Clinchers- The weekend brought a first for Lady’Back tennis in 2005; a real rush to clinch the match. Luckily, the Lady’Backs had two competitors in prime position to do just that in both matches last weekend. Karina Ledaja was the last Lady’Back on court in Friday’s showdown against Tulsa. The Tulsa Santie Delport forced a third set, but Ledaja rose to the occasion, winning the set and match, 7-5. In Sunday’s match against Oklahoma State, it was Yawna Allen’s name that was called to seal the deal for Arkansas. The freshman showed poise beyond her years on court five by battling back from a one set deficit to clinch the match for the Lady’Backs with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 over OSU’s Lauren Simmons.
Gotcha Again- Freshman Yawna Allen is making a career out of beating Oklahoma State. Just ask OSU’s Lauren Simmons. Allen is currently 3-0 in singles against the Cowgirls, with two of those victories coming against Simmons.
Beware the V- Junior transfer Vlatka Jovanovic is an undefeated 7-0 in doubles against regional opponents. Her partner in crime this spring is Melissa Cornett. The two have posted four regional doubles wins thus far.
Tennispalooza- The Lady Razorbacks conditioning will be tested this weekend and beyond as five different teams come to Fayetteville in five days two try and knock off the 5-0 Lady’Backs. Arkansas opens Tennispalooza this Friday against Southwest Missouri State at 5:00 p.m. followed by Kansas State the next day at noon. Sunday posts a doubleheader for the Lady’Backs, with North Texas at noon and Abilene Christian at 4:00 p.m. Arkansas takes Monday off before squaring off against regional rival SMU on Tuesday at noon.
About Southwest Missouri State- Arkansas’s most recent action against the Lady Bears came at the 2004 Lady Razorback Invitational last September. There, the Lady’Backs went 5-1 in singles and 1-0 in doubles. In dual matches, the Lady’Backs are an overwhelming 26-0 all-time against SMS. Last year’s meeting between the two squads, the Lady Razorbacks ran away with the match, 6-1.
About Kansas State- The Lady’Backs have not faced the Kansas State since the 1993-94 season, but hold an impressive 9-1 record all-time against the Wildcats. KSU is led by senior Maria Rosenberg and is 1-2 after suffering a loss last Sunday against Ole Miss.
Mean Green- Arkansas has face the University of North Texas Mean Green since 1997, but are 3-2 all-time against the directional rival from the Lone Star state. In fact, the Lady’Backs have not faced a “north” school since 2000, when they faced off against North Carolina at the NCAA tournament in Durham, N.C. For those keeping track, Arkansas has not technically faced a “south” school, bi-directionals excluded, since South Alabama in 1990. True, the Lady Razorbacks see annual action against South Carolina, but the name of the state does not count in the direction of the school within that state. Moreover, Arkansas is 2-0 against its only “west” opponent, Western Illinois, but hasn’t faces WIU since 1987. Karina Ledaja transferred from Western Kentucky, but became a Lady Razorback before playing another teammate; contract void. The longest drought for the Lady’Backs against a single direction school comes against institutions containing the name “east”. Arkansas has not faced an “east” school since Eastern Kentucky in 1982. However, from 1979-1982, the Lady’Backs hosted a plethora of “east” schools, including East Texas State, Eastern Illinois and Eastern Kentucky. Lastly, the Lady Razorbacks have only faced two schools referring to the middle of their state in the name of the college. The Lady’Backs beat Middle Tennessee in 1984, but began playing centralized competition as early as 1980 against Central State.
Abilene Christian- Arkansas originally began its series with ACU in 1996-97, and hadn’t faced the Wildcats again until last season, in which the Lady’Backs won handily, 7-0. Abilene Christian is currently ranked 12th in division two.
About SMU- The Lady’Backs defeated SMU in Fayetteville last year, 5-2, with a strong outing in doubles and key victories in singles. All-time, Arkansas is 7-11 against the Mustangs. Currently SMU is 7-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of Tulsa a week before Arkansas defeated TU.