Up next: The Lady’Backs push pause on Southeastern Conference play as they fly West for a Spring Break match against the University of California at Santa Cruz on Tuesday, March 22 at noon (CST). Arkansas is 1-0 all-time against the Gauchos, but hasn’t played them since the 1995-96 season. In the match, the Lady’Backs cruised to a 7-2 win.
Next in the SEC: The Lady’Backs’ next test in the SEC comes on March 25 as Arkansas travels to Nashville, Tennessee for a 5:00 match against Vanderbilt. The Lady’Backs lost to an up-and-coming Commodore squad last year in Fayetteville, 5-2, but picked up key wins by current seniors Whitney Morton and Iliana Pacheco on courts six and five, respectively.
Last weekend: The Lady’Backs squared off for the second consecutive weekend against two skilled eastern division schools, #26 Tennessee and #3 Georgia. The Lady Vols came into the match after a 4-3 loss to Alabama, but flashed skills against Arkansas, winning 6-1. Karina Ledaja picked up the lone Lady’Back singles win on court five with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Melissa Schaub. In doubles, Ledaja and Maryori Franco won on court two against Asley Robards and Melissa Schutte, 8-6.
The Georgia Bulldogs brought a fight to the Dills Indoor Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon, but the Lady’Backs fought right back. Karina Ledaja improved to 2-1 in SEC play with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win on court six. Franco was down 6-3, 4-0 to Georgia’ Natalie Frazier, ranked 26th in the country, before coming back to take a 5-4 lead. Frazier came back to force a tiebreaker, but it took her all to be a charging Franco, 6-3, 7-6(6).
Ledaja wins, again and again: Karina Ledaja picked up two key SEC singles wins for the Lady’Backs this weekend, first against Tennessee and then over Georgia. The pair of wins marks the Lady’Backs first back-to-back conference wins this season, and puts Ledaja tops among the team for total conference games won. Currently, the Liepaja, Latvia native leads the team in matches won, 22, SEC matches won, 2, and current winning percentage, 78.6. She had proved to be a reliable player as well, placing second on the team for most matches played this year, 28. Arkansas native Melissa Cornett leads with most matches played with 29.
Up and down the ladder: While Ledaja leads the team in three statistical categories, she also proves to be a versatile player on court. Ledaja has won on four of the six singles courts, three to six. Her two SEC wins came on courts five and six. Ledaja clinched the upset against Tulsa while playing line three. However, it is on court four where Ledaja has done the most damage, going 5-0 this year on the court.