FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – After a nine-day break from competition, the No. 35 Arkansas women’s tennis team is set to open Southeastern Conference action Thursday at No. 15 Florida, followed by a match at No. 12 South Carolina Saturday.
The Razorbacks (6-4) and Gators (5-2) will square off at 4 p.m. CT Thursday at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. Following that match, the Razorbacks will head to Columbia, South Carolina for a noon tilt Saturday against the Gamecocks (8-2) at the Carolina Tennis Center.
From Coach Hegarty
“We feel like we are rounding into form at just the right time,” Arkansas women’s tennis head coach Michael Hegarty said. “As usual, the SEC is loaded this year, and playing Florida to open up conference play will provide us with a stiff challenge.”
Last Time Out
The Razorbacks are coming off a 4-3 victory over now-No. 13 Wichita State on Feb. 22. Freshmen Ana Oparenovic and Agne Cepelyte proved to be difference makers. Oparenovic teamed up with sophomore Mia Jurasic to pick up a crucial 6-2 victory on the doubles court and later added a straight-sets singles victory. With the Razorbacks leading 3-2, Cepelyte emerged victorious over WSU’s Luca Pump, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 to capture the overall victory.
• Oparenovic boasts a team-best 7-3 singles record, including a 5-2 mark at the No. 2 spot.
• In doubles, the Razorbacks are led by the pair of Oparenovic and Jurasic, who are 7-3 in the spring. Next is the senior duo of Makenzie Craft and Flavia Araujo, who have won their last two matches and own a 5-4 record.
• The Razorbacks’ four losses have all come to teams currently ranked in the top 25 of the latest Oracle/ITA DI Women’s Tennis Team Rankings.
• Senior Yuliya Lysa and junior Shannon Hudson will team up on the doubles court for the first time this season. The duo is ranked No. 45.
The Opponent – Florida
• Florida enters the contest looking to snap a two-match losing streak. The Gators fell 4-3 at both No. 1 California and No. 16 Stanford last week.
• Six Gators are featured in the top 125 of the latest Oracle/ITA DI Women’s Singles Rankings, including two in the top 15. In addition, Florida has three doubles pairings in the top 50 of the doubles rankings.
• Florida has won 151 straight dual matches at home, dating back to the 2005 season. It is the longest active win streak among Division I programs.
Series History – Florida
• Arkansas and Florida are set for the 28th meeting in the all-time series with the Gators holding a 26-1 advantage overall.
• The Gators won the last meeting 7-0 in Fayetteville on March 13, 2015.
The Opponent – South Carolina
• South Carolina grabbed a road victory in its last outing, defeating then-No. 27 Wake Forest 4-3 on Monday.
• The Gamecocks’ singles lineup includes three players ranked in the top 125. Caroline Dailey, who owns a 3-4 dual-match record, leads the way at No. 71.
• The Gamecocks are 3-0 against top-30 opponents this season.
Series History – South Carolina
• Saturday’s match will be the 29th meeting between the two schools. The Gamecocks lead the all-time series 22-6.
• The Razorbacks defeated the Gamecocks 4-3 in Fayetteville in the last meeting on March 15, 2015.
Following the weekend, the Razorbacks will play Missouri on March 12 in Columbia, Missouri at noon.